Today I am so pleased to welcome Ana J. Phoenix to Joyfully Jay. Ana has come to talk to us about her release, Branded. She has also brought along two copies to give away! Please join me in giving her a big welcome!

Rookie Mistakes

Branded is not my debut novel, but it was the first one I wrote. At the time, I had no aspirations to be a published author. I had no idea about the rules of writing or what genre conventions were. And so I simply wrote what I felt like writing at the time. I had two characters whom I loved, and I wanted these two to have some crazy adventures and land in bed together. My writing was bad, the plot at times non-existent and when I got bored I made up army penguins because there was a documentary about penguins on TV and why the heck not?

Then people started reading what I wrote, and I wanted them to keep reading so I joined writing communities and then I realized… I was doing it all wrong!

My POV wasn’t consistent, the first half of the story didn’t have a plot, I was writing about dragons, and dragons were overused, my villain didn’t show up before the last few chapters… and worst of all, my main character wasn’t likable.

That’s right, at the start of the book my protagonist is, as one review describes him, a “spoiled, miserable pretty-boy”, and that’s putting it nicely. I fixed most of the other problems this book had. (I kept the dragon. Because dragons). But I never fixed Asher. He’s a character I know a lot of people will have trouble with. Right in the first chapter, he disses blind people, thinking that their useless eyes ruin the effort he puts into his looks.

I know.

It’s a terrible thing to have my character think. But I also felt terribly uncomfortable trying to censor him. Asher is who he is. He isn’t trying to be mean; he’s just the product of his upbringing. He has a lot to learn, and he does. Ultimately, I think that’s what a big portion of the novel is about. The way he changes and discovers that he can be a better person, and why it might be worth it to make the effort.

In the end, my unlikable character and his screwed up world view made me laugh a lot while writing this story, and I hope he can do the same for some of my readers. I apologize on his behalf to every one he infuriates, but I have no regrets.

If I’d read writing books before I started this story, I wouldn’t have written Asher the way he is now. I might not have written this book at all. The thought makes me sad. Sometimes, I think it’s good not to know the rules. Sometimes it’s okay to break them, and sometimes, rookie mistakes are worth keeping.


BrandedAsher doesn’t like people, and people don’t like him. He’s cool with that—all he needs from them is sex, anyway. But when he’s suddenly thrust into a strange and dangerous world filled with magical creatures, joining forces with other people may just be the only way to survive.

It’s not all bad though—in this new world, he can turn into a fire-breathing dragon! Which would be awesome if it weren’t for José, the pesky fire elf sharing his fate whose goal in life seems to be to stop Asher from ever having fun. José is hot, though and Asher wants to get into his pants just as much as he wants to get home. But José is also blind, and Asher has no clue how to charm a man without relying on his looks.

Somehow, Asher has to show José that he’s more than a sex-obsessed pyromaniac with no filter between his brain and mouth. Preferably before either of them ends up dead. Civil war rages around them, and finding the way home isn’t going to be easy. And for Asher, getting there in one piece, and with his heart intact, might just prove impossible.


Ana is a writer of m/m romance and erotica. Her interest in hot guy-on-guy action was first sparked by reading scandalous Japanese mangas. A dirty secret she couldn’t resist. In a long bout of insanity – also known as her life — she decided to learn the language and escape to the land of sushi, sumo, and yaoi.

She’s since moved back to Europe to be with the love of her life – delicious European chocolate.

Now she resides in the sunny part of Germany where she fills her days chasing her dreams and writing about men in complicated relationships. Her family believes she’s writing “erotic manga stories.” She’s pleased they got the erotic part right, at least


Ana has brought two copies of Branded to give away to two lucky readers. Just leave a comment at the end of the post to enter. The contest ends on Monday, July 6th at 11:59 pm EST.

  • By entering the giveaway, you’re confirming that you are at least 18 years old.
  • Winners will be selected by random number. No purchase necessary to win.  The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning.
  • If you win, you must respond to my email within 48 hours or another winner may be chosen. Please make sure that your spam filter allows email from Joyfully Jay.
  • Winners may be announced on the blog following the contest. By entering the contest you are agreeing to allow your name to be posted and promoted as the contest winner by Joyfully Jay.
  • Prizes will be distributed following the giveaway either by Joyfully Jay or the person/organization donating the prize.
  • All book prizes are in electronic format unless otherwise specified.
  • By entering you are agreeing to hold Joyfully Jay harmless if the prize or giveaway in some way negatively impacts the winner.
  • Readers may only enter once for each contest.  Duplicate entries for the same giveaway will be ignored. In the event of technical problems with the blog during the contest, every effort will be made to extend the contest deadline to allow for additional entries.
  • Void where prohibited by law.
FILED UNDER: Giveaway, Guest Post