Author Spotlight: Avril Ashton

Hey Folks, 

Happy Indigenous Peoples’ Day! 

*I am throwing every ounce of shade at Columbus and this “holiday.”* 

Allow me to dive straight into this week’s author spotlight. I met Avril at RT earlier this year and in typical Harper fashion; it happened in an offhand manner. She made a Facebook post announcing her presence in the lobby of the hotel where the convention was held, and of course I hop on her post with, “OH, MY GOD, WHERE ARE YOU?” Not that I’m a weirdo. *blink blink* I’d read a few of her books, so I was in full fangirl mode. Miraculously I didn’t embarrass myself. Yay, me! 

Anywho, you should get to know this wonderful woman and while you’re at it, pick up her work. Her sex scenes are scorching (I swear it’s hot porn on the page). Rawr! 

Take it away Avril!  


I always find author interviews kind of boring. We only get to see one side of an author, the polite side. If you had an evil doppelganger, what detail would they enjoy revealing about you to the public that people would find surprising and possibly questionable? 

Ha! Not questionable—and probably not really a surprise—but I’m really not good at socializing with people. I just can’t be bothered, which my husband says makes me mean as hell, but whatever. That attitude also kinda sucks, you know, because I feel like dude, I’m awesome. I should have friends and ish. But then I remind myself that I hate talking, and I’m like, “Nah, I’m good.”


Two-part question! You wrote an excellent blog post on imposter syndrome. I appreciate your honesty regarding the topic.  

(a) Why do you think talking about it is such a taboo thing?

I’m really not sure why it is that we don’t hear more about the dark side of what we do. I wrote it because I felt as if there had to be other others out there who feel like I do. I text with a fellow author all the time who commiserates with me when I’m all in my feelings, so I knew I wasn’t the only one.  

(b) Why aren’t more authors willing to share this aspect of themselves with the public?

Maybe we don’t want our readers to see how much we struggle? Maybe we don’t want to dwell on it? For me, I just wasn’t ready or willing to admit to that weakness. I’m doing what I love, right? How hard then could be it be? Turns out, it’s pretty damn hard, and admitting that, admitting that sometimes—despite my obvious success—I still feel like I don’t belong kinda makes me sound whiny and ungrateful. So that’s why I kept silent for so long.


Who’s your favorite actor?

I really dig Clive Owen in anything. I think dude is being slept on, for real.   


What’s your favorite Caribbean cuisine? 

It’s Caribbean cuisine, I can’t possibly choose! I like bake and saltfish for breakfast, maybe a nice beef roti for lunch, and some jerk chicken, rice and peas and fry plantain for dinner. That’s day one, though. Day two can be a whole different menu. That’s the thing about our food, so many options.


Another two-part question. I am all about the twofers.

(a) Did you find it difficult to transition from writing M/F romance to writing M/M romance? 

Not everyone can do it seamlessly. It wasn’t difficult at all, and maybe the reason was that I hadn’t built up an extensive MF backlist yet. I’d really just gotten my foot in the door, before I switched over.

(b) What was the scariest part of the process for you?

The scariest part for me was actually making the first steps into writing M/M. I wondered if I could possibly be half as good as the best authors who’d already made their mark in the game.


What’s one thing you’ve learned about this business that you wish you’d learned at the beginning of your career? 

I wish I’d learned that there really isn’t one way to do this. It’s really more about what works for you. That’s all that matters, and it’s something I embrace now, but it took a while for that knowledge to settle in.


Put on your reader hat for a sec. What makes a book a five-star read for you? 

Depends on what I’m reading. If it’s MF, I want filthy sex galore. I want a strong woman, not afraid to do what she wants, who she wants, along with an alpha AF hero, with an engaging storyline and gripping emotions. For M/M much the same, except ease up on the angst. For some reason, writing angsty M/M is easy. Reading it? Not so much.


Not that I have a lick of experience regarding this but word on the street is parenting is hard. What’s one lesson you’ve tried to instill in your daughter?

I think our children should have a healthy fear of us to keep them in line. Growing up in the West Indies, manners is everything, and it’s something both my husband and I drill into our daughter on the daily. Manners, it goes a long way in this world.


Finish this sentence: Bad sex is like _____. 

Ugh. Bad sex is like trying to replicate a recipe off Pinterest. No matter what the hell you do, that ish never turns out the way it does in the pictures, leaving you dissatisfied, with a big ole’ mess to clean up.


What’s your favorite song of all time?

I don’t have one, actually. I love music, it goes hand in hand with my writing process. I’m a fan of hip-hop, rock, reggae, soca/calypso, soul, RnB. If it’s music, it’s my favorite.


**Bonus Question**

Ever tried BDSM? If not, would you? 

I have, and while I’m not fully entrenched in the lifestyle, I’m not not in the lifestyle ;-)

*LOL, I see what you did there!*  ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)


Bio:

A Grenadian transplant, Avril now lives in Tucker, GA, with a madly tolerant husband. Together they raise an eccentric daughter who’s pretty meh about reading and school. Avril’s earliest memories of reading revolve around discussing the plot points of Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys with an equally book-minded mother.

Always in love with the written word, Avril finally decided to do the writing in August of ’09 and never looked back. She’s been nominated for numerous awards, including Best Author, Best series, and Favorite All-Time Author. In 2013 Avril won Evernight Publishing’s Reader’s Choice Award for the LGBT (Male/Male) category.

Addicted to cupcakes, the ID Channel and the UFC, Avril writes Gay and Erotic Romance with happy endings; she remains a believer of love in all its forms.


Social Media:

Visit her website: http://www.avrilashton.com

Friend Av on Facebook: http://facebook.com/writeravrilashton

She’s on Twitter as @AvrilAsh

Sign up for her New Release Newsletter: http://t.co/RaWn5SBeYg

Join Av’s Gang on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/AvsGang


Books:

Wanna activate your one-click finger? Check out Remi’s Betrayal!


Librarian Spotlight: Robin Bradford

*Deep sigh*

I don’t even know where to begin. 

My heart is heavy. 

I’m furious as fuck. 

I’m exhausted. 

The more things change, the more they stay the same. Folks, we are living in some nutty times. Very very nutty. My thoughts are with the victims of the Las Vegas shooting and their loved ones. 

I want change, and I will continue to demand change from elected officials. I will never stop being the squeaky wheel. These people have fallen down on the job by not ensuring our citizens are adequately protected. We deserve better, and our safety shouldn’t be compromised by greed. This isn’t about the right to blah blah blah. It’s about BEING and FEELING safe doing mundane things such as going to school, attending a concert, taking in a movie.

Rather than flood your newsfeed with more depressing news, allow me to be a little ray of sunshiney goodness on a horrific news day. Today’s blog post features a remarkable woman I’ve been following on Twitter for some time now. I spotted her at RT, but I didn’t get the chance to chat with her. I was determined to introduce myself the next time I spotted her at an event, and it finally happened at RWA Nationals this year! If you follow Robin on Twitter you know she is all about giving it to you straight, LOL and I adore her for it.

Get to learn a little about this wonderful woman!


I posed this question to authors and bloggers, and my librarian interviewees should have a shot at it as well. I always find author interviews kind of boring. We only get to see one side of an author, the polite side. I’m sure the same can be said for librarians. If you had an evil doppelganger, what detail would they enjoy revealing about you to the public that people would find surprising and possibly questionable?

Okay, I love question one! The problem is, I kind of AM my own evil doppelganger. For better or worse, I don’t fake politeness very well. But, to play along, I guess I would say that I’m quick to anger and slooooooooooooooooooow to forgive. If you’re out here  acting a fool in public, or if you are somehow disrespectful to me, or people close to me, that’s it. I’m done. I often give second chances, but I rarely give thirds. I wish I could say I was patient and forgiving but…that just isn’t the case. It’s even less of the case post 2016 election. 


Who is your favorite Disney character?

The genie from Aladdin. I thought I would have to think about this more, but the answer came almost immediately and I haven’t wavered. 


What’s the oddest request you’ve ever received from a patron?

“Can I come home with you?”  If you mean the oddest that related to the collection…I can’t really think of one. It’s been over 10 years since I worked reference daily, so I have limited contact with patrons. And the ones I see now, they really haven’t asked anything strange. The one that seemed to trip my dad up, however, was when I told him someone had called and asked how to cook a roast. He just couldn’t wrap his head around the idea that someone would call the library to ask that question. Even though he’s asked me the same thing (before he learned he could do it in the slow cooker!) I always laugh about this because it just goes to show how people don’t realize the variety of questions we get. 


What are three characteristics you believe a librarian should possess?

Intellectual Curiosity – librarians should always want to know more. About everything. 


Humility – way too many librarians I know think they’re better than everyone: their patrons, the people they work with, the people who give them money. It is not a very flattering characteristic in anyone, but it’s especially unattractive in librarians. 


Fearlessness – On the other end of the spectrum, there are librarians who don’t trust their own awesomeness. I want them to get an extra shot of fearlessness and step forward. It’s why my twitter profile pic right now is “But what if I CAN do it?”


As a child, what was the best Christmas gift you received?

Wow. I wish I remembered. I was a very lucky kid, and got a lot of things. I’m sure each thing was my favorite at the time! 


Say all books are banned (God forbid!) what three books would you risk life and limb to keep in your possession?

This is a tough one and I don’t know. I mean, one of the best things about reading is the discovery, so I almost want to pick 3 books, that I love but just don’t know it yet.  And it’s too hard. I love so many books, I’d be the witch in the woods with the contraband. 


What relaxes you?

Music. Always music.


Best Boy Band: New Edition, New Kids on the Block, Backstreet Boys, or *NSYNC?

I hated Backstreet Boys, so they’re immediately off the list. I liked N’SYNC, but I was a little on the older side when they came along. I love New Edition and NKOTB both with the heat of a thousand suns, but I have to give the edge to NE. 

*I want you all to know I gave Robin’s “I hated the Backstreet Boys” part of her answer some serious side-eye. I WANT IT THAT WAY IS A GODDAMN MASTERPIECE*    ♪♫♪♫ Tell me whyyyyyy. Ain’t nothin’ but a heartache… ♪♫♪♫


Finish this sentence: Romance means ________. 

Everything. 


Best book to movie adaptation?

I have to name 3: 

Dennis Lehane’s Gone, Baby, Gone. It seemed to capture the book’s vibe/atmosphere as well as the story. 

S1 Game of Thrones. Everything was exactly as I’d imagined from the scenery to the perfect casting. And it was very faithful to the book.

The Martian. I loved the book, and so had REALLY high expectations for the movie. And the movie delivered.   


**Bonus Question**


Ever tried BDSM? If not, would you?  

I am allergic to submission. I’d be the one trying to top from the bottom. Could I be taught? Maybe…. I’m not sure I’m D enough to work the other half of the equation. That said, I’ll try almost anything once…or twice.  :) 

Bio:

Robin is a librarian in the western part of Washington state. She’s also a lawyer, book blerd, and baseball addict (#WhiteSox fan). She’s got the degrees to prove her badassery (BA, MA, MS, JD). She’s a Romance reviewer for Indiepicks Magazine. And lastly, she’s the recipient of the 2016 RWA Cathie Linz Librarian of the Year Award. 


Social Media:

Twitter


Author Spotlight: Robin Lovett

It’s Monday!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Hey there party people! I’m recovering from an excellent weekend at the Baltimore Book Festival! Shout-out to the Maryland Romance Writers and Laura Kaye for showing me a super fabulous time. I should have a recap post up next week. So many incredible highlights to share!!! My goal is to write the post tonight and then sleep like the dead. I’m exhausted! Aside from being tired from my weekend activities, I’m drained from dodging crazy comments on social media from people who believe NFL players that kneel during the National Anthem are the WORST people ever. 

Yeah, no. 

NOT TODAY SATAN

Anyway, this week’s featured author is so damn lovely. She was one of my roommates at RWA Nationals this summer, and she was so sweet when I was sick and felt like death warmed over. Robin also came to my aid when I was having an emotional crisis. It’s good to have genuine people in your corner when meltdown mode comes at you fast. She deserves all the hugs. ♥  

Get to know a little about Robin. She. Is. Amazing!


I always find author interviews kind of boring. We only get to see one side of an author, the polite side. If you had an evil doppelganger, what detail would they enjoy revealing about you to the public that people would find surprising and possibly questionable? 

I have a brutally jealous side and a massive guilt complex. Those two combined without my conscious to reign them in… I’d be a vengeful SOB. My evil doppelganger would probably have a serious resemblance to Maleficent. 

What’s your favorite quote?  

I love the quote from Dumbledore in the last Harry Potter book: “Of course it is happening inside your head, [insert your name], but why on earth should that mean it’s not real?”It makes me feel so much better about how real my stories feel in my head as I’m writing them!


What constitutes a quality read for you?

Something that grips me–emotionally–preferably also physically. I’m a sucker for the ultra-steamy stuff! Fat truth, I get bored without some good sex on the page. But it’s imperative the book takes me on a journey of personal struggle with a character. 


Ice skating or roller skating?

I SUCK at roller skating. I usually fall on my back and end up crying so… definitely ice skating!


You’re one of the co-hosts for Romance Writer Chat on Twitter (Sunday nights 7pmEST/4pmPST hashtag #rwchat for those of you interested in joining). Aside from joining the chat, what advice would you give to a newbie romance writer who’s looking to find their tribe in Romancelandia?

Make friends. Talk to lots of romance writers and ask them questions. Get to know them. You’ll find your group. Be brave and don’t be afraid to take away time from writing to talk to your writer friends. Friendship with other writers is as important as your word count!


What’s your favorite fairy tale?

I was never a princess girl. I always loved and wanted to be Peter Pan. “I never want to grow up!”


We’ve all had moments as teenagers when we did a dumb thing (or many dumb things). Tell us one of yours.

I was a seriously buttoned up as a kid. I was in a tough home situation where I didn’t feel safe to take any risks. The dumbest thing I did as a teen– not going to enough parties! I missed out on so much fun. I’m making up for it now ;)


Finish this sentence: When it comes to a romance novel, the hero should always _______.

Know what his heroine/hero wants!


What attracted you to writing dark romance?

I have a very dark mind. For me to not write dark would be a betrayal of who I am. It comes easy. I have to reign myself in so that I don’t freak people out. *devil face*

Be careful how you answer this, Game of Thrones fans are reading! *Takes a deep dramatic breath* Who’s deserving of the Iron Throne? 

Um, I’m rooting for a team Daenerys/Jon with them sharing the Iron Throne as a couple. (Yes, I’m in denial about the whole incest thing!)


**Bonus Question**


Ever tried BDSM? If not, would you? 

I enjoy reading it but in real life… Bedroom politics can be complicated enough in a relationship without straying beyond vanilla. Besides, vanilla is faaaaabulous :)   


Bio:

Robin Lovett was a professional opera singer who grew tired of playing dying heroines and took up writing Happily-Ever-After instead.

She enjoys writing romance to avoid the more unsavory things in life, like day jobs, housework, and personal demons. Romance novels have always been her addiction of choice. When not writing with her cat, she’s busy embracing untamable curly hair and adventuring in the outdoors with her husband. 

She has a trilogy of dark ultra-sexy romance thrillers out with SMP Swerve, and her next series will be sci-fi erotic romance through Entangled Publishing. She is represented by Rachel Brooks of BookEnds Literary Agency.

You can find her on Twitter every Sunday evening at 7pm ET chatting with other romance writers on #RWChat.


Social Media:

Website www.RobinLovett.com

Twitter @LovettRomance 

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/LovettRomance

Instagram @LovettRomance 


Books:

Looking to activate your one-click finger? Check out Stranger Book 1 of 3 in the Dark Romance Trilogy

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