Today I am so pleased to welcome Jason Banks to Joyfully Jay. Jason has come to talk to us about his latest release, Ashes to Ashes. He has also brought along an exclusive excerpt and a great giveaway. Please join me in giving Jason a big welcome!
Thanks for joining me at Joyfully Jay Review’s today. I bet most of you are wondering, “Who is this guy?” And I totally understand that while half the population of readers for m/m romance still hasn’t heard of me, now’s your chance. I thought this would be an excellent opportunity, at Jay’s generosity to host me today, to share with you all who I am. So let’s get started.
Yep, you can imagine Jason Banks is just a pen name. Those who know “of” me already, know most of my personal life on Facebook. While I am autistic, I am pretty open online and probably share too much about myself. I’m in my early thirties and while I could probably do the math and divulge my actual age, it pains me to see the digits together. Unlike many others on the spectrum, I didn’t get a diagnosis until I was in my twenties, but knowing now, it makes my entire life make sense. This means that my editor knows me well and didn’t want to alter anything to a major degree, as it would detract from how I speak in day-to-day life. What this means for readers, is you’ll see a different style of writing than what you’re maybe used to. As an author, I have a very unique voice. I totally understand that not everyone likes my style—and that’s okay. I have such a love for words, and I try to paint as best of picture for readers as I possibly can. Verbs and adjectives are definitely my friends.
I originally wanted to publish Ashes to Ashes back in 2016, however life just didn’t seem to allow my creativity to pursue anything on a literary level. My special interests switched up after being dealt some trickier cards and my writing mojo was in quite a rut. The storyline for Ashes to Ashes remained with me the entire duration of my absence from writing, and by late last year, everything clicked into place for how I was to tell it. The story of Maxwell Williams has many personal details from my own world and while I’ve personally never had the life he does, it was refreshing to give him the happy ending he deserved. I hope I haven’t spoiled too much for you, but yes, there’s quite a happy ending. If you decided to read Ashes to Ashes, you will hopefully understand just why the storyline is so powerful and important to me. It was definitely not one of the projects I would start and just totally abandon because I wanted to work on something new.
When I sat down to develop the plot for Ashes to Ashes back in late 2015, I only had a few basic details. Then the rest of the plotline came to me on one of my walks to work that year, and shortly after, I dreamed one night as if I were Maxwell and everything else fell into place. Ashes to Ashes has been such a labor of love for me, it was no wonder why I wasn’t too easy about tossing it aside—and I hope most of you are compelled to find out why. Come find me on Facebook and Instagram and be my friend if you haven’t already. My new novel, BASELINE, is going to be book #1 of a series revolving around various sports romances—and I have a special treat in the Gay Fantasy Romance subgenre which will require some patience from readers, but be well worth the wait. So once you enjoy Ashes to Ashes, there’s lots of exciting things coming from the Desk of Banks.
Max’s suite remained dark as Durango and Max found themselves in each other’s embrace on top his bed. Though clothed, both of them removed their pants so it would feel more comfortable. Max laid on the right side of the bed, staring straight into Durango’s hushed stare, while feeling the gentle caress of the psychologist’s hands across his stubble. Max’s phone laid on the table adjacent to both men, playing songs from the Adele station on Spotify, while the dim lamps on both sides of the bed offered a calm, but ample glow.
Durango’s hand traced Max’s cheek down to his chin. “So, what is the story of Maxwell Williams?”
“Aheh,” Max began. “That’s quite a loaded question. I wouldn’t know where to begin.”
“Start wherever you feel comfortable.”
Max obliged, taking his left hand and clasping it with Durango’s. “Well, what I was going to say downstairs was,” he paused. “Well more of the reason I didn’t order any wine with you…”
“…is actually because for the past ten years, I’ve been a recovering alcoholic. So if that doesn’t scare you away…”
Durango let out a subtle whisper. “Shhh, don’t even think that defines who you are. It was a part of your past, Max. Don’t let the decisions of yesterday determine what is destined for your future.”
Max couldn’t help but feel like there was already a giant lead blanket lifted off his shoulders. Usually, this was such a sore subject which would turn a person away from him, removing their existence from what used to be his social circle. He’d not had many friends, beyond that of Melanie and Dirk.
“So you’re not gonna go running off because that means I have a little more baggage than you might?” Max asked with uncertainty.
“God, no. You think I’m afraid of that?” Durango replied, sounding convincing.
Max let out a cavernous sigh. “Well I suppose that’s about the extent of my baggage. Other than being a widower, single parent who still doesn’t have a clue how to raise a seven-year-old autistic gemstone without fearing he’s gonna make one wrong turn and what seemed like progress eventually shatters into chaos once again.”
A lighthearted chuckle escaped through Durango’ s mouth. “You think I don’t have baggage?” he retorted, raising his hand to rub his forehead. “You might have in-laws trying to gain custody of Lily, and now I understand your fears there, I do…” he paused to let in a breath of air. “But do you think for one second I don’t have in-laws who’ve hated me for several years because I ruined their baby girl’s life by admitting I was gay? Especially after bringing a child into the world with her?”
Max nodded his head against the pillow it was resting gently on. “Yeah, I suppose you’re right. That’s got to be hard.”
“Damn hard, Max. And it’s not to say that the hand I’ve been dealt is any less weighted than yours, that’s not at all what I am saying,” he said, with a glimmering wink. “Life just happens, honey. And we can’t always be the one to knock things out with a full house. The river just keeps flowing.”
Max snickered. “Sorry, the gambling euphemisms are just too much. I don’t play poker or anything.”
“Hah,” Durango offered. “Sorry, I guess I’m showing my interests too much, eh?”
“Are you Canadian?” Max asked, trying to change the subject on something to where he could start learning a bit more about the man who seemed to embrace every shattered piece of his soul as if it was just par for the course.
“Yeah, actually. While I am from Colorado, my family had to relocate to Canada when my father had to take up a different department with his job. We’d been there for almost twelve years before we moved back to Grand Junction.”
“Sexy. I don’t think I really know any Canadians,” Max chortled. “I mean, other than you, now.”
Durango smiled again. “A great deal of crucial years developmentally for me was spent there in Nova Scotia. So it’s always been a part of me. That’s why some of the accents and colloquialisms have sort of stuck, I guess. I consider Canada to be my home away from home. I have many friends all over those parts.”
“Do your parents approve of your sexuality now?” Max asked.
The older guy turned his head toward the ceiling. “They’ve been gone for a couple years. But, for the most part. My dad didn’t take to it as quick as my mother. He always expected me to grow up according to his standards of what being a boy meant. While I did partake in the recreational pleasures which he hoped I’d enjoy, the truth is, I never really liked any of it.”
Max nodded. “Yeah, I never enjoyed getting my hands dirty. Hunting. Fishing. The whole gamut. Never would even try it.”
Max reached his arm around Durango’s backside and pulled the man in closer for another warm hug. Even though both men remained in their shirts, Max could feel the thrash of Durango’s heartbeat. He let in a deep breath and exhaled slowly, with much approval and satisfaction knowing that he hadn’t scared away the man with his darker than usual past.
They held each other for several moments until Max’s head brushed across the side of Durango’s face where both sets of lips met the tips of one another. Max wondered if this was too far of an advance and he paused in fear that the guy was going to pull away instantly. However, the small glide of Durango’s tongue across his bottom lip was the confirmation Max had been seeking. While Durango’s hand traveled the length of Max’s spine to the back of the photographer’s head, Max graciously accepted the psychologist’s tender exchange. In the dim room, they laid for another handful of minutes swapping passionate kisses as hints of Sam Smith’s tenor melody delivered goosebumps throughout Max’s entire body.
In the wake of tragedy, Maxwell Williams is searching for an answer to his life and where to go from here. After his late husband dies, he is left to fend for himself and care after the legacy Brogan Baxter left behind—their seven-year-old daughter, Lily. Being twelve years Brogan’s junior, Max questions if his busy schedule and current skillsets equip him to be a single father. Besides, as a world renowned fashion photographer, he’s away from home two or three weeks each month. He couldn’t begin to fathom fathering Lily, a moderately autistic child, all by himself.
Just weeks after Brogan’s funeral, a Fed-Ex certified letter arrives in Max’s office that stands to change the rest of his and Lily’s life forever. After some soul searching, Maxwell decides he wants to leave the hustle of Denver and hunt for a home on the Northwestern Coastline. This opportunity affords him to become fully engaged in Lily’s life and learn about her world fulltime. Once Max and Lily settle into their shore-view abode in Northwest Washington, Maxwell sets out to find the best accommodations for children on the Autism spectrum.
Durango Walters is the most sought after child psychologist on the West coast and after several referrals, Max seeks out his esteemed expertise. Throughout a journey of self-discovery and learning more about his child now than in seven years, Max puts together the many pieces of his world while finding comfort in the most unconventional fashion where ethics and desire could meld a prospect to fill both of their lonely voids.
The following bio is actually just a total crock of codswallop, since most everyone knows it’s for a pen name anyway. But, here goes… Jason Banks is an emerging Gay Romance Author, born in the UK and shipped off in the sort of fashion as a common American military brat as an infant. With a German-American Father and a British Mother, Jason has been known to refer to himself as the human equivalent of a canine mutt. Much thanks to his upbringing within the deep cornfield suburbs of Indianapolis, Jason’s been exposed to a plethora of various experiences and friends spanning from the Midwest to the East coast. He enjoys reading many other Authors in the same genre of M/M Romance (including most sub-genres) but also fancies outside the sultry box a time or two with a Mystery/Thriller or Suspense novel. Currently, Jason can be found roaming all over Colorado and Utah. His bearish features match that of his teddy bear personality and if you haven’t spotted him with a fork in his mouth, you’ve probably met the wrong bloke. Ashes to Ashes is his official comeback novel and looks forward to his next book within late winter to spring of 2019. He’s always up for meeting a new friend, so find him on Facebook at: http://facebook.com/authorjasonbanks
Jason has brought a $10 Amazon gift card to give away to one lucky reader. Just leave a comment at the end of the post to enter. The contest ends on Thursday, February 7th at 11:59 pm ET.
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