Today I am so pleased to welcome Ashavan Doyon to Joyfully Jay. Ashavan has come to talk to us about his latest release, Steven’s Heart. He has also brought along a great tour wide giveaway. Please join me in giving Ashavan a big welcome!
Thanks again for having me here at Joyfully Jay! When I was preparing for this tour I had a lot of requests for specific content — particular questions the blog owners wanted answers to, or standard questions that were their personal preference. Since I have some freedom here to talk about subjects of interest to me, I’m going to take full advantage.
For readers who don’t know, my name is Ashavan Doyon, author of Steven’s Heart. This story follows my previous release, Loving Aidan. In that story we followed Aidan through his journey to finding love. Steven has this shining moment with Aidan where everything is wonderful before the world crashes down. And I do mean the world. Because for Steven, this is the experience for the first time of what being gay can mean in terms of facing prejudice.
Steven quickly discovers what a mess that can be. Not just from the perspective of having to face, for the first time, honesty in telling his ex why things can’t work. But also tangibly, from name calling, threats, and the reality of seeing Aidan’s ex Michael beaten almost to death in an attack that appears provoked by the very act of Steven and Aidan being public in their dating.
Steven is grieving. He’s lost his first fragile attempt at love. Now he’s faced with the prospect of having come out without the benefit of a supporting partner. He has to come to terms with that loss. And he finds his route to that through Michael, Aidan’s ex.
We have an excerpt from Steven’s Heart just for Joyfully Jay. Michael and Steven have started to talk in the hospital, each seen the other being vulnerable. This is where Steven talks about the closet and how he coped with that.
Steven stroked the fingers of Michael’s hand. “I was pretending to be straight,” Steven said, the words coming slowly. They were soft, and spoken as much to himself as to Michael. “Up until a couple weeks ago. All my life, pretending.” Steven shimmied in the chair, trying to find a comfortable spot. “Until I met Aidan, I was content, you know? Just to look. Tried to pretend it was normal.”
Steven sighed. “I spent all my time with the crew team. We were a team. Sure, girlfriends came and went. Sometimes one of us would bring a friend into the group. But when Sammy started including Aidan, none of us knew what to do. I mean, this guy was… he’s really gay.”
Michael choked on a laugh and squeezed at Steven’s fingers.
“He’d wear top hats, ascots, honest-to-God rose-colored glasses.” Steven hung his head. “I teased him about it the first time I met him. Picked on his vest. He gave me this look, utterly confident, and corrected me. Told me they were called waistcoats. I asked him why he was dressed like a fag. He… he gave me this look, so fierce it was like it freakin’ burned. I’ll never forget it. He said, ‘I am a fag, why shouldn’t I dress like one?’ And then he looked me up and down like I was a piece of meat. And he smiled a little and walked away. I’m six foot eight, and Aidan was completely unafraid.”
Steven looked at the ceiling. “Sammy reamed me for calling Aidan a fag and went after him. But that final look… I’d been looked at like that by girls my whole life and it had made me feel good, sure. But it never turned me on. When Aidan looked at me that way, even though I knew it was just done to get a rise out of me, I got all hot. I felt sexy. I blushed and everyone thought I was embarrassed, but I was so turned on.”
Steven inhaled deeply through his nose, closing his eyes, and then let the breath out slow. “I knew I was different. I knew I found boys attractive. I always did. But I tried so hard to pretend it was normal. I mean, girls know which girls are attractive, right? As soon as I was old enough, I found myself a girlfriend. That was easy. Even at fifteen I was the boy all the girls lusted after. So I let one take me home and the things she did… I felt so good and I came, so I had to be straight right? But I didn’t feel anything for her. I thought it must just be that girl.” Steven gulped.
“You f-found another girl,” Michael said.
“Yeah. And another.” Steven sighed. “Sex felt good. I mean, it’s just friction, right? But I still didn’t feel anything for them. So I kept looking. Trying to find the right kind of girl.” Steven covered his face with his hands, pulling his hand from Michael’s tentative grasp. “There wasn’t a right type of girl, but I kept looking for one.”
“He made you doubt,” Michael said.
“I’d never seen anything so sexy. To challenge me like that, all alone and he’s such a tiny little guy, you know? But there he was, barely over five feet tall and glaring up at me. And then to give me the once-over on top of it? I started having dreams. The kind I’d tried to ignore in high school. Dreams about him.”
“You found a new girl.”
How did he know that? “Yeah. A different one. She was a hot, Latin girl and she did things with her hips during sex that…” Steven gulped. “But I still didn’t feel anything for her, nothing real.”
When a love triangle breaks, Steven Everett is left alone to grieve over Aidan, a boyfriend lost to someone else. Surrounded by friends too tied to Aidan’s new lover to give advice, Steven turns instead to a broken and beaten man, Aidan’s other ex, Michael Rossier. The two men’s confide in one another, their relationship growing deeper, until neither can deny their attraction. But being with Michael feels like cheating, and Steven isn’t sure what to do. The connection get stronger every day, and Steven realizes he’s facing an impossible choice.
To make a relationship with Michael work, Steven needs to make peace with Michael’s troubled past. Even more terrifying, he’ll have to tell Michael the secret he’s never told anyone, not even Aidan. With Michael recovering from yet another surgery, Steven leaves to face the ghosts of the past. He has to be certain. This time, Steven knows, the decision means revealing the secrets of his heart and hoping their fragile feelings can survive.
Ashavan Doyon spends his days working with students as part of the student affairs staff at a liberal arts 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, having opted instead for the companionship of two beautiful and thoroughly spoiled pugs. A Texan by birth, he currently lives in New England, and frequently complains of the weather.
Ashavan has brought a tour wide Rafflecopter giveaway that includes 2 ebook copies of Steven’s Heart and one signed print copy of Loving Aiden (US only) . Just follow the Rafflecopter link to enter.
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