Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Featured Author: Layla Dorine

Welcome Today's Featured Author
Layla Dorine!!

Guitars and Choices by Layla Dorine

Asher Logan has been a lot of things: runaway, guitarist, cage fighter, cowboy, but the one thing he’s always avoided was being a father to his young son. Now faced with returning to his families ranch, he’s forced to deal with the knowledge that the move would put him right down the road from Shawn. Still, it’s better than staying in the city, with drunken, bitter older brother Cole, whose anger and prejudices have made him difficult to be around.
Add in the fact that Asher’s new boyfriend, Conner, is eager to make the move with him, and there’s little argument that he can make against it. But returning home means facing demons, and the barn he’s avoided since the day his father caught him and his first love together in the hay. Speaking of his father, when the old man finds out Asher is back, he knows it will only be a matter of time before he demands Asher come to the prison to see him.
Moving means facing a buried past and truths long hidden, but staying in the city isn’t good for anyone, least of all Asher’s young nephew, Rory. It’s a hard road to face, filled with tough choices, and an old secret that just might provide more questions than answers.

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Guitars and Cages 
Asher Logan is a bartender and a pretty wicked guitar player, when he isn’t wrecking his hands fighting in a cage. With a past he keeps hoping to outrun, Asher’s been on a downward spiral for longer than he can remember. When his sister-in-law leaves Rory, his eight-year-old nephew, in his care, Asher is forced into two things he’s never been good at: sobriety and responsibility. As he struggles to care for Rory, his own life begins to unravel. 

When Asher’s brother, Alex, turns up, presenting as a girl and announcing her new name is Alexia, it further complicates matters, as does the arrival of his new neighbor, Conner. Both, in their own way, compel Asher to look at his own closely-guarded views on sexuality. 

When the siblings’ older brother, Cole, reacts violently to Alexia, Asher is placed squarely in the middle of a family conflict which compels him to confront who he pretends to be versus who he really is.

Asher must choose who to trust and who to finally walk away from.

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About Layla Dorine:

LAYLA DORINE lives among the sprawling prairies of Midwestern America, in a house with more cats than people. She loves hiking, fishing, swimming, martial arts, camping out, photography, cooking, and dabbling with several artistic mediums. In addition, she loves to travel and visit museums, historic, and haunted places.
Layla got hooked on writing as a child, starting with poetry and then branching out, and she hasn’t stopped writing since. Hard times, troubled times, the lives of her characters are never easy, but then what life is? The story is in the struggle, the journey, the triumphs and the falls. She writes about artists, musicians, loners, drifters, dreamers, hippies, bikers, truckers, hunters and all the other folks that she’s met and fallen in love with over the years. Sometimes she writes urban romance and sometimes its aliens crash landing near a roadside bar. When she isn’t writing, or wandering somewhere outdoors, she can often be found curled up with a good book and a kitty on her lap.

Layla Dorine can be found at:
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Interview With  Layla Dorine:

1. Can you tell us a little about your books? 
I tend to focus more on a sliver of time in the character’s lives, typically, it’s how they come together in the first place. For example, in Racing the Sky, my dirt bike themed MM Contemporary Romance, Nicky is just getting out of a bad breakup and turns to Gray as a sort of one night stand, which grows into something more over the course of the story as he deals with an injury sustained on the racetrack. In Guitars and Cages and Guitars and Choices, Asher struggles to get his life together, surrounded by family and friends who want to help and some who just want to tear down and control. His story is as much about accepting himself for who he is and coming out to his family as it is about his sister, Alexia’s transition and how other members of the family react to her. There are three more books planned for the series exploring not just Asher and Alexia’s struggles, but those of other family members as well. In ….And All Shall Fade to Black, my MM Contemporary Romance featuring a body piercer and a theater manager, the pair starts off as neighbors and slowly begins to build a friendship/relationship while dealing with issues of domestic violence and an eating disorder.

In each book, I strive to focus on the characters and their struggles, while things in their lives unfold around them. There are twists and turns and misunderstandings and the one thing that I strive for is not to have them be formulaic or predictable. The characters have to work for their HEA/HFN because to me, that makes it much sweeter when they achieve it, but also leaves the door open to revisit them later, and show how much they have come to appreciate what they have.

2. What inspires you to write? 
 It’s the stories themselves, really. I’ll be out in my truck or on the trail with the dog and something will pop into my head, a scenario or a plotline and I find myself latching on to it and needing to jot it down and expand upon it. I draw a lot of inspiration from traveling, visiting museums, meeting new people and talking to them, seeing interesting and unique places and experiencing different things, all of which end up folded into my writing somehow. In part, I write because I want to share the stories I tell, but I also write simply to record the story and have a lasting record of the idea.

3. When did you know you wanted to write a book?  
When I was about 11 and read an article on S.E. Hinton publishing The Outsiders when she was 15. I loved reading and I loved make believe and I was always making up stories in my head using characters from my favorite cartoons or the action figures I had. I never wrote them down, though now I realize they would have been considered fan fiction had I done so. Instead, I wrote poetry and eventually began creating my own characters and sticking them in the situations that I’d come up with. I was about 12 when I first tried my hand at writing a novel, and I only got about 4-5 chapters in. I still have them in a file cabinet, they were my inspiration to try again in my 20s. I did NaNo for the first time one November when my mom had taken my then only child with her to Louisiana for a month. I remember writing one chapter a day and not even understanding proper novel formatting, but I got the whole story on paper, and to me that was what counted. A few years later I took series of novel writing workshops, right around the time I had my second child. By the time my youngest was in elementary school, I just knew that it was time to really focus on completing another novel, this time one that was structured correctly and polished enough to submit to a publisher. It took two rejections to find the right one, but in 2015, my debut novel was released, a culmination of a 27 year old dream.

4. Do you have a favorite spot to write?
 By the ocean or any other flowing body of water. Here in Iowa where I live, that mostly means creeks, streams or rivers. I love listening to the sound of water flowing, it helps me focus and gives me a sense of peace. There are so many spots in the woods where there is soft grass or a fallen log to sit on while I’m listening to the water, in addition to the observation towers in several of my favorite locations. As long as there is water and wilderness I’m all set to write the whole day away.

5. If you ever experience a case of writer’s block, how do you cure it?  
If it’s full on writer’s block, I step away and find something else to do that has nothing to do with writing. Sometimes I’ll read and do research, but mostly, I try to get away from books entirely. I’ll go out on the back roads with the camera taking pictures, or I’ll go fossil hunting, sometimes I’ll work on digital art or drawing, other times, I’ll turn to movies and vegging out on the couch, it really just depends on what kind of block it is. If I’m stuck on a scene, but have other ideas for the story, then sometimes I just go ahead and work on those. If I’m out of ideas or conflicted on the direction a story should take, then getting away from it completely is a help. I tend to work on more than one story at once, which also helps, sometimes just shifting gears can keep from ending up with full on writer’s block.

6. Do you work with an outline, or just write?  
It depends on the story. For some, I sit down and just start writing them out in a notebook and with others, I actually have to plot out what is going to happen and how each event is going to be connected. I’m growing away from that method though, as the stories that read most organically have always been the ones that I’ve just sat down and written out from beginning to end. Usually, I start with either a scene, or the voice of the character in my head, sometimes both, and just go from there. Occasionally, I’ll use a writing prompt to get started, which has been the way two novels have formed so far. Since I started my writing career as a roleplayer I always tend to leave myself space to revisit characters and plan to comprise some shorts in the upcoming year that give readers a look into what’s happened with the characters since the story ended, these will be available on my website beginning in September. In listening to some feedback I’ve recently received, I’ve come to realize that by outlining and thus trying to predetermine a plot, I’ve pigeonholed characters into certain roles, or had them do things to further the plot that maybe didn’t fully fit the characters, so I’ve decided to go back and rework some of the stories I have in progress to ensure that those instances are smoothed out and adjusted before the stories reach their final phase. 

7. For someone who hasn't read any of you books yet, which one would you suggest they read first? 
It’s hard to choose just one, but I’d have to say Guitars and Cages simply because of all the themes it contains and all the characters who come together to comprise the tale. Their interactions are funny at times, painful at others and I’ve been told that readers alternated between cussing a few characters, wanting to throw their kindles, and needing a box of tissues. That is truly the best compliment I could have ever received because it means that my writing is reaching people and it is conjuring up strong feelings in them in response to my words. So, if someone wanted to get an idea of what my writing is like, I think Guitars and Cages would be the book for them.

8. If you could spend 24 hours as a fictional character, who would you chose? 
I’d love to spend 24 hours as Legolis from Lord of the Rings, to live as an elf, explore the forest and see what adventure I might find would be really fascinating I think.

 9. What are you working on next? 
I have a few stories in the works, but the two I am most focused on finishing are Gypsy’s Rogue and Midnight Musicals and Coffee Ice Cream.

In Gypsy’s Rogue, I have two characters who are trying to find some measure of peace on a small farm that one of them inherited. They have a history, are ex-inlaws who are starting to fall for one another, and both have some personal baggage they tend to carry with them and are forced to face in order for things to work out for them.

In Midnight Musicals and Coffee Ice Cream, a businessman falls for the escort he continuously hires to attend events with them. A slow burn faced with many obstacles along the way, it is a sweet romance that sets out to show that love can be found in the most unexpected of places.


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