When Loving Aidan was first released, one of the pieces that didn't fit into the story was the actual scene where Aidan met Sammy. The scene is referenced in the story. As readers we know what happened—that when Aidan moves in Sammy protects him somehow. But as readers we never experience it.
I wrote the scene where they meet as an author extra to share with readers, and while the blog where it was originally shared is, I believe, long since gone, I am happy to share it here again.
Author Extra - Loving Aidan
Aidan turned onto the narrow service road that led to the dorm. He pulled up near the building and onto the grass. This early there weren’t many students about yet. Aidan stepped out of the car, wincing a little at the sudden heat. He was dressed as he always did in a long sleeve shirt and a buttoned waistcoat. He pulled a handkerchief from his pocket and lightly dabbed at the sweat that had immediately broken out on his forehead.
“Oooh. Hey, guys, here he is. Our resident piss-ant fag.
Aidan turned and gave the line of lounging young men a glance. He conceded only a single raised eyebrow as he passed them by, ignoring the ongoing catcalls. He should report them. But nothing was ever done about it. Instead, he entered the small residential office at the side of the building. A student asked his room number, and more numbly than really warranted at this early hour offered him his key. He took it and looked at the label. Samuel Riley.
“This isn’t mine,” he said to one of the students handing out keys.
The perky young woman glanced at it quickly. “Oh, sorry. That’s your roommate’s key.” She ruffled through the box. “Ah, here it is. Sorry about that,” she said, taking the key back from him and handing him another.
“Thanks,” he muttered, and turned to leave, barreling into a very tall young man. He looked up and all he could think of was dark. The man’s skin was charcoal black, and slick from the heat. Aidan stammered a quick apology automatically.
“Ain’t no skin off my teeth,” said the man with a smile, his cheeks showing deep dimples.
Aidan was sure his heart was going to stop, and he quickly looked at the ground to hide the red in his cheeks even as he hastened his way to the door. He was hit immediately with another catcall. The row of young men stood idly by cars still stuffed with boxes. The staff would help people later on as more keys were picked up, and they were waiting, as they always did. Most of them wouldn’t carry a single box of their own.
Aidan did not glare, though he wanted to. Instead he went to his car and pulled out the first box.
“Showing off that ass? You maybe want som—” the young man yelped suddenly.
Aidan turned to see the man he’d run into in the office staring down the row of young men.
“Have a problem with him?” asked the man.
“Come on, Sammy, kid’s a fag. Look at him!”
And Sammy looked. Aidan was being given a thorough once over. Sammy chuckled, showing his dimples again and slapped the other man on the shoulder. “Don’t know what you’re worried about. His eyes are on me.” Sammy stripped off his shirt, stuffing it into a back pocket where it hung loosely against his leg. “See?”
“Sammy, he’s looking at you!”
And Aidan was. His eyes were locked on Sammy, on perfectly chiseled abs, gazing across the broad, smooth chest.
“Has taste,” said Sammy with a grin, showing dimples again. “Clearly you lot of cowards got nothin’ to worry about.”
Sammy walked away from the row of young men and stepped up to Aidan. “Need some help?” he asked.
Numbly, Aidan nodded.
Sammy smiled, clapped him on the shoulder, and took the box from his hands. “Let’s get these boxes upstairs.”
Aidan gulped and softly murmured a thank you.
“Ain’t no problem, roommie.”
Aidan’s eyes widened. Sammy. Samuel Riley. Dear God, this was his roommate.
Greetings! Today we're taking the time to welcome Purple Horn Press author and co-founder Ashavan Doyon to the blog to talk about the rerelease of Loving Aidan.
I'm excited to be here!
This series is still a favorite of mine. In part because Loving Aidan was my first novel. But also because there's a lot of personal bits spread throughout the series. From the focus on LGBT life on campus, to campus leadership, to the struggle of feeling alone on campus. These were all familiar things. And they made writing Loving Aidan both easier and harder.
Easier, yes easier, because it was something I knew. I know what the reaction of a campus to seeing someone in a flashy outfit like Aidan wears will be. I know what it looks like. I know when it will get ignored and when it will get him chased at night with people ready to beat his head in. And yes, while I was not the one wearing the outfit, I remember what it was like to have to run and to feel that fear. So in that sense writing Aidan was easy, because I could so easily put myself into the mindset of this flamboyant and very out young man and know how he'd respond. And so I knew what Aidan would do, both when he was alone and desperately in love with people he couldn't have and when he was cornered.
Harder, because damn. This shit is still hard. And that makes it painful to write about.
I love Aidan. Flamboyant. Tiny. Strong. We don't see Aidan's strength grow, because he comes into the story with it, but we see how it's grown and how he's been hurt in his conversations with Sammy and with Steven. And if you read carefully, the scars are plenty visible. Ultimately they shape the choice he makes.
Steven is easy to see as a sweet and romantic character. I don't want to take away from that, because he is—once he starts to find himself, to trust himself and to really fall for Aidan, we get to see a Steven that I think a lot of readers probably fall in love with. But Steven has a history. He hasn't always been supportive of Aidan and that teasing? It didn't start as flirting. On the other hand, the openness with which Steven offers Aidan his feelings is breathtaking. Want to know a secret? It was a surprise for me too.
I think Sammy gets a bad rep. He's a very dominant possessive guy. If you look at Aidan and how he grew up and how they meet, Aidan's attraction will make sense. He's also very driven. Sammy comes from poor-as-shit country. School is his chance to escape and he plans to escape. It's easy to miss in the focus on him being possessive that he's also a straight 'A' student with a 4.0, studying to be a doctor while managing college athletics and still reading to sick kids in the hospital on weekends.
Don't miss the previous two stops on this mini blog tour!
The Passion Stroll (there's a free scene at this one—the first meeting of Aidan and Sammy) Love Byte's LGBT Romance Reviews (giveaway! There's still a few hours left, I'll be picking a winner tomorrow, Monday 3/27/17! The winner gets to pick between a free ebook copy of Loving Aidan or American Pride)
Visit Ashavan Doyon on his website as he discusses the re-release of his first published novel 'Loving Aidan': Two men worth fighting for. Then, stop by Love Bytes Reviews. Post a comment on Love Bytes and be entered into a drawing for a free book!
One of authors' struggles in the modern writing climate is the difficulty in being discovered. This is hampered in an environment where often an author, for the best of reasons, publishes with multiple publishers, or self-publishes some of their own work. This limits the places an author can promote the totality of their work. Their website. Author Central. Goodreads. But often blog tours arranged by publishers don't want you mentioning the book you have coming out next month if it's coming from a different publisher. It's like a whole chunk of the author's life is shuttered behind a door. To me that feels too much like a closet door. I don't like it.
As a publisher, I believe in supporting the whole author. Sometimes that means supporting a book that we didn't publish here. Sometimes that means supporting an author who is just starting out and may not have made the leap to a publishing house yet. Sometimes that's as simple as doing more than saying 'no' in a rejection letter—because most of the ones we get as authors are pretty useless and don't say much to help us place that discarded story, or lift us up from the despair that accompanies the letter.
Right now, it means supporting Purple Horn Press author Cindy Sutherland. She's in the middle of editing Love Aggression, and I know she can't dedicate as much time as she'd like to promoting some of her older titles. This one, Luck of the Irish, published by Dreamspinner Press, is a favorite.
Why? I'll admit it. I'm a sucker for an accent done well, and I can hear Cian in my head; it's so very sexy. It gets my motor running, and the romance is sweet, that almost sickeningly sweet kind. But it winds you toward something you expect to be bittersweet, even as the two characters are so clearly falling for each other.
I love it. I hope you will too. And until March 17, it's on sale at the Dreamspinner Press store. So, while Cindy's book from us isn't ready yet, you can still take some time to read a great story from a great author... for cheap! Seriously, it's worth checking out. Quinn is adorable, and Cian is sexy and you'll all hate David immediately. Buy Luck of the Irish for 30% off today.
My husband is Ashavan Doyon. He writes gay romance novels. Maybe you’ve heard of him. It’s been a long road that started with National Novel Writing Month and writing fan fiction. Ask me and I’ll tell you all about it sometime.
When Asha finally built up the confidence to submit his work, he spent a great deal of time researching publishers. He ended up with two. So, of course, it was devastating news when we learned that one of them, one of the most venerable, was closing. He had been so careful to pick just the right ones. Then the waiting started. The waiting for his rights to be reverted, which, thankfully, they were. But what next? Four full length novels in a series, with a fifth ready to go and no publisher. It was unlikely that anyone would reprint four novels that had already been out for some time. It was decided; Asha would self-publish.
Then, more bad news: A distributer who also published was closing. At this point we all know what happened there. Writers, other publishers, advertisers, editors, customers, no one was immune. With a new release out in November, the distributor disappearing with the bulk of all fourth quarter royalties meant yet another hit in a year that had already hit Asha’s writing dreams hard. Fellow authors and colleagues lost thousands of dollars.
Asha and I started to talk. Maybe we were missing something. Maybe we could do more than just self-publish Asha’s titles. It was a big ‘If.’ So many authors have been burned that trust is a lot to ask for, especially in the current atmosphere of closings. But, we decided it was worth it to try.
So, that’s it. That’s what Purple Horn Press is all about. A safe space, if you will, for writers, editors and those negatively affected by the recent publisher closings to come together. We hope you’ll give us a chance to do right by you. I have no doubt that we will make a mistake or two along the way. But, we will never, ever, steal or cheat you. Ever. We believe that giving your word means something. And, for what it’s worth, you have ours.