Special Guest: Darien Cox on Safe in Your Fire

One of my dearest writer friends is m/m author Darien Cox. We started at the same publisher years ago, and I was hooked as a fangirl when I read his first book. He just came out with a sexy, intriguing new sci-fi romance novel, which I devoured in record time and couldn’t help asking some questions. And I’ve got answers for readers dying for more!

 

Q: You usually write contemporary romance. What made you go with sci-fi this time?
A: I’ve always been a closet nerd, read a lot of books about various conspiracies etc. just for fun. So after I put out Victim of Love last year I got a little blocked, and ultimately a friend asked me…well, what do you love? I was like…um, cheeseburgers? Oh, and creepy otherworldly stuff, yeah, that’s it! I was hesitant to go there at first, but my editor, Skyla Dawn Cameron, reminded me that art is risk, and that I could still use my own voice and a contemporary setting while adding the weird. So I said screw it, let’s have some fun. I think it still very much feels like a Darien Cox book, it’s still a pretty modern romance, just with some oogedy boogedy weaved into the plot. The best part is it worked – I’m unblocked and already partway into a MM non- creepy contemp novel I’m gonna put out before the next Village book, so it’s a good mix for me, alternating between the two.

Q: All the side-characters have rich, detailed lives even though they’re not the focus–do you already know who will get their own book?
A: Ultimately I want them all to get their own books, but I have decided on a certain character for the next one. It’s going to be fun to get deeper into all their backstories while rocking their little worlds and getting them naked.

Q: Without giving any spoilers, do you have more mysteries to explore with the scifi angle after explaining some of it in this book?
A: And it’s so hard not to talk about spoilers! But yes, definitely. The great part about what’s lurking around the village is that it’s still such an unknown despite what’s been revealed. Even though I’ve used some existing concepts, I really wanted to get across that when it comes to this stuff, bottom line is NOBODY FUCKING KNOWS, so my goal is to keep it surprising. While writing this book, I tried to really open myself up and let the story tell itself, so to speak, and was happy the details that emerged managed to surprise even me, so there’s gonna be some crazy stuff coming down the pipe for our village crew.

Q: How did you go about constructing the village itself to be its own character?
A: Well first, I’m happy you see it that way! The village, while ultimately becoming a very real and unique place to me, started out as a combination of places I’ve spent time, places that are colorful, a little off-beat, and give you a sense of self-containment, like their own little world. There’s a bit of Provincetown in there, a little Hull, Massachusetts, and a dash of Burlington, Vermont. Places that have that kind of island feel where if you go on the off-season you’ll see the real locals and feel the pulse of the place and what’s brimming beneath the surface. So I basically put all that in a blender and then used the characters and the story to mutate it into its own animal. As far as the New York State setting, I’ve had some awesome experiences in the mountains up there, and it’s definitely a place that pops up a lot in the non-fiction realm, in terms of ‘I had a weird experience in this place’, so I took that and used a speculative eye to expand upon it.

Q: What made you decide to add cameos of Ben and Peter from Seducing Professor Coyle? It was nice to see them again.
A: It was a combination of circumstance and laziness! At the start, Rudy needed help with his computer, and I thought, ‘If only Ben LeClair was here’. Then I thought…oh wait, he can be. BECAUSE I AM GOD HERE!

Q: Can you tell us what the non-creepy contemporary romance you’re working on is about?
A: It’s a forbidden fruit story, which is pretty much my favorite theme, and it’s going to be very, very, nasty. In a good way.

Q: When can we expect The Village Book Two?
A: Shouldn’t be too long! The ball-ache of writing the first one was setting the scene and creating the village and the characters. Now that they’re in place, I’ll bang the second one out fast, already got most of it outlined. So get ready to whip out that #smutordie hashtag!

 

Thank you for visiting, Darien!

 

SafeinYourFire-KindleWelcome to The Village – A new gay romance series with a sci-fi twist from best selling author Darien Cox.

When asked to locate and interview an off-the-grid former child star for a magazine feature, novice journalist Rudy Sansone thinks he’s getting yet another demeaning assignment from his boss. But finding ‘Baby James’ Waterman proves to be a personal and professional challenge, as the elusive, hostile, and surprisingly sexy James is nothing that Rudy expected. But Rudy’s scrappy motivation to get the story at all costs plunges him into the mountain community of Singing Bear Village, where he senses strange and frightening secrets simmering beneath the surface. But what’s simmering between Rudy and his reluctant interview subject is something more carnal and heated, and his desire to be consumed by it clouds his judgement when warning bells urge him to flee the village and never look back.

Buy on Amazon, ARe, and Nook.

 

New Release: ALLEY CAT

The fourth Cats & Conjure book is here!

AlleyCat-Kindlet

Adelaide Deveraux has at last come into her powers, but her gifts have come with a price: she has lost the love of her life. Now surrounded by allies but still utterly alone, she’s seeking to build a new Sanctuary and provide shelter for those who need it, even though none of it will heal her broken heart.

Tiger-shifter Erik Wells was willing to sacrifice everything to save Addie from the psychopathic sorcerer after her, including his life. But despite paying the ultimate price and annihilating their enemy once and for all, he still isn’t at peace. Some greater power is seeking to resurrect Erik, willing to move heaven and hell to see him breathe again. Whether that power is good or evil, he doesn’t know, and he’s running out of time as something’s hunting him in the underworld, seeking to destroy his very soul.

Release Date: March 4, 2016
Genre: IR (bwwm) paranormal romance
Length: 30 000 words (or 100 pages)
Series: Cats & Conjure #4
Format: ebook
Ebook Price: $2.99
KindleAReNookKoboiBookstoreSmashwords

This book hints a little more at the overall mythology coming into play (the next book reveals what Addie really is and what’s with all the cats) and introduces a new villain that will carry through the end of the series, so I’m quite excited about it.

To celebrate the release, the first novella Cats in Heat is now being serialized on Wattpad for free. If you’re a fan of the series and want to encourage others to give it a shot, I’ll be updating Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays starting today right here.

For those looking for more Midsummer books, Gold is out May 27 and will be up for pre-order soon (more about that next week).

I don’t have a release date yet for Cat’s in the Cradle, the fifth C&C book as explained in my 2016 release forecast. News when I have it!

Finally, my erotica writing buddy Aylia Ryvelt is promoting her new hate-to-love romance serial, Reunion. The first book, called Love & Hate, is currently free for a few days, and the second part, Hate So Sweet, is now available. (The third is coming soon.) Aylia is amazing–she was the force behind me finally publishing my work–so I encourage everyone to check her out.

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*A note about this title being free…

It’s common with series to make the first free by the time there are four or so out, which is why I’ve chosen to do it with Cats in Heat. This title, however, is still under copyright.

Please only download the book from legal channels. The more downloads a book gets on legit sites, the higher the rankings in the the store, and the greater the visibility the book gets (and therefore new people hear about it).

All rights are reserved. The book may not be copied or distributed elsewhere without my permission. Thank you for respecting my rights.

ALLEY CAT Excerpt

Addie & Erik’s fourth outing is a week away!

Here’s a quick taste under the cut…

Continue reading

2016 Book Forecast…

Hey guys!

So I’ve been reflecting on last year’s releases, trying to figure out what worked in terms of sales, what didn’t, and where I need to go from here. Last year’s plans for 2016 will have to shift a little, as I expected.

Here’s how it’s looking so far:

Series Works

Stirling Falls

AK-GimmeShelter-webReaders still like series! I still get regular interest in Stirling Falls books with periodic sales on Wild Horses and Sympathy for the Devil, so I am seriously looking at trying to get Gimmer Shelter written later this year. It’s going to require some research, so I’ll be looking into that later this month, and whether or not I can get that hands-on research in–and when–will decide when that book will be written. Maybe a fall release? I hope?

I also really want to do a second book about Tash and Devin from Sympathy Called the Devil. The premise involves Tash investigating the murder of someone close to her while Devin tries to reintegrate with a town who believed for years he was a serial killer. Also, there will be ropes and whips and nipple clamps, because of course there will. It’ll be called Paint it Black to go with my Rolling Stones theme, but that’s all I know for now and likely won’t get around to it until 2017 if I write it at all.

Guaranteed this year: Gimme Shelter is likely in the fall.

 

Midsummer Suspense

GoldAlso, the future of the Midsummer Suspense Tales series… I never know what to expect with these books; Cinders did well, but there was a gap that year with illnesses and family emergencies, and I only had one book out. With that momentum destroyed, it was a climb last year back up again. Beauty and Snow did okay, so I went ahead and released Beast…and to my immense surprise, readers seem to have dug it and sales, while not huge, have been steady the past couple of months.

Also, in talking with a writer friend about the series, I ended up deciding to extend it from six books to nine. Admittedly, I love doing fairy tales, and if readers continue buying them, I’ll keep writing them. I’ll be shuffling things around a little, and hope to continue writing them for the rest of this year and next, although because they’re standalone, if it seems like interest is petering out I can comfortably stop writing them.

Guaranteed this year: Gold, which I’m halfway through and will come out May 27, and likely Lost toward the end of the year.

 

Cats & Conjure

AlleyCat-KindletThese books…continue to not do well. Stray Cat Strut was my poorest selling release of last year. Alley Cat is up for pre-order. Right now pre-order numbers sit at…eleven copies. Yeah, ouch.

Addie and Erik’s story spans six novellas total. Three are out, one is coming soon, and there are two more planned that will be written, but I’ll have to see when I can squeeze it in. I promise I won’t leave regular readers hanging but appreciate understanding about the financial perils of writing and releasing these stories.

Guaranteed this year: Alley Cat on March 4. Hopefully Cat’s in the Cradle toward the fall but no promises.

 

Standalone

I was a little disappointed with The Book of Love‘s performance last year, both because it was super fun to write and because I genuinely thought it would be a book people would like with the humor and burned out romance writer premise. It keeps trucking along, though, and I’m looking at my list of other standalones I wanted to write.

One was I Who Have Nothing, which was originally supposed to be out with a publisher in 2013. It was delayed because it wasn’t done and then because I left my publisher. I still regularly get interest in it but the news is the same: the book has undergone extensive rewrites and still isn’t ready.

Guaranteed this year: If I release a non-series book this year, it’ll be this one, as I’m halfway through it, but I thought that last year so it’s by no means definite.

 

New Worlds

For a couple of years now, I’ve had a new romantic suspense series on my mind following the same couple for 3-4 books called Fox and Manning. The first is still in development and something I’m debating, but the thing I come back to is starting another series only to decide to retire from publishing.

Sales are never steady–anyone in publishing knows to never expect otherwise–but it’s a lot of time and money invested and I’m not sure if I can keep doing it. This tweet from last week?

Not an exaggeration. I’ve got a note to look over sales numbers vs expenses in the fall to see.

It’s reality and it’s not fun, but here we are; if it happens, I don’t want anyone to be surprised, which is why I’ve mentioned it. I won’t start a new series (especially not with a HFN ending on the first book) unless I’m sure I’m going to finish it because I love my supporters and wouldn’t leave them hanging. Fox and Manning will debut next year at the earliest if I decide to continue publishing as Asha King.

I’m also toying with some m/m ideas at the encouragement of a friend; if I pursue it, those works will be romantic suspense and written as Ashe Kingston. And will likely involve hot cowboys–I think Stirling Falls could use some m/m lovin’. This will be something I revisit toward the end of 2016 to see if I think it’ll be actually viable or not–investing in a new genre and new pen name is risky to say the least.

Guaranteed this year: Nada.

 

So…that’s what this year is looking like. I have a handy page devoted to 2016 releases that I’ll keep updated throughout the year. I hope this answers any reader questions that might be coming up about what-book-is-coming-when and, if not, just leave a comment here and I’ll try to answer.

 

Happy reading!

XO Asha

New Pre-order: ALLEY CAT

The cats are back!

The fourth Cats & Conjure story is on its way in March.

To those who kindly didn’t send me hatemail for the ending of Stray Cat Strut: THANK YOU. I was tremendously proud of the ending of that story, as sad as it was, and I didn’t want anyone to wait another year for the next one. As I’ve said before, sales are always low with these ones, so I have to squeeze them in between other releases. There are two final books coming, hopefully by the end of the year, and then there’ll be a print collection of the final volume.

Here are the details!

4-AlleyCatAdelaide Deveraux has at last come into her powers, but her gifts have come with a price: she has lost the love of her life. Now surrounded by allies but still utterly alone, she’s seeking to build a new Sanctuary and provide shelter for those who need it, even though none of it will heal her broken heart.

Tiger-shifter Erik Wells was willing to sacrifice everything to save Addie from the psychopathic sorcerer after her, including his life. But despite paying the ultimate price and annihilating their enemy once and for all, he still isn’t at peace. Some greater power is seeking to resurrect Erik, willing to move heaven and hell to see him breathe again. Whether that power is good or evil, he doesn’t know, and he’s running out of time as something’s hunting him in the underworld, seeking to destroy his very soul.

Release Date: March 4, 2016
Genre: IR (bwwm) paranormal romance
Length: 30 000 words (or 100 pages)
Series: Cats & Conjure #4
Format: ebook
Ebook Price: $2.99
KindleAReNookKoboiBookstoreSmashwords
I’m also halfway through the next Midsummer Suspense Tale, Gold, so stay tuned for that in the spring (and news about the future of the Midsummer Suspense series)!