We’re so pleased to have author Ava Hayden joining us today to celebrate the release of The Valentine’s Day Resolution, from Dreamspinner Press.
Thank you so much to The Novel Approach for hosting me today to talk about The Valentine’s Day Resolution!
A big part of telling a story is coming up with names—not just character names, but also names of towns and cities, businesses, sports teams, pets, and more. I’ve had to invent names of paintings (“Summer Cannonade” and “Summer Maelstrom” in His Fallow Heart) and small towns (Eagle Tree, AB in His Fallow Heart and Lac LaForge in Daniel’s Lynx) and a hockey team (Oilton Ospreys). In fact, the entire city of Oilton and everything in it is made up (though if you’ve ever been to Calgary, Alberta, you might find some similarities<g>). The name I love the best is that of the property where Lynx shifters can come to run and hunt in safety: Belle Patrie (“beautiful homeland” in Daniel’s Lynx).
Some of my favorite names in The Valentine’s Day Resolution:
Floribunda—Paul’s flower shop.
Millicent’s—Paul and Carson’s favorite brunch spot.
Evil Twin—the all-night eatery owned by the same family that runs Millicent’s.
Sukey’s Donuts—the shop next to Floribunda where Huxley picks up donuts for his managers.
Great Big Umbrella—an elegant, over-the-top fundraiser for city social services agencies.
Miss Gordine—Carson’s drag name.
Carson’s stage name was a challenge. He does gender-fuck drag, so I wanted a name that went against typical drag name conventions. Gord/Gordon is an extremely common name in Canada—think Gord Downie, Gordon Lightfoot, Gordie Howe, Gordon Pinset…. It simply oozes testosterone. Turning it into “Miss Gordine” felt like the kind of gender-bending self-naming Carson would do.
How do you pick names (baby, pet, artwork, characters)? Is it hard or easy?
About the Book
Blurb: Huxley carries invisible scars from a near-fatal car accident. He sleepwalks through a job at his father’s company, marking time until he can quit and pursue his own dreams. Everything changes the moment he makes eye contact with a stranger while riding to work. It’s as if he’s been shaken out of his stupor, and Huxley vows to find the man.
Thanks to a thieving ex-lover, Paul’s florist shop is on the brink of closing down. He needs to milk Valentine’s Day for all it’s worth—and the irony that a day dedicated to love might help undo the damage of a failed relationship is not lost on him.
When Huxley finds Paul at his shop, both men feel an instant attraction. Before long, they’re falling hard, but Huxley holds back. If Paul knew all the baggage he’s carrying, he might run.
Paul’s gut tells him Huxley is hiding something. Huxley looks like a keeper, but Paul can’t go through another disastrous romance.
When Valentine’s Day arrives, will they have anything to celebrate?
Huxley wove through the throng of Great Big Umbrella attendees, heading for table twenty-two, which he’d located on an event map before diving into the horde of socialites, organization workers, tray-bearing waiters, and assorted media personalities. He spotted a CBC camera crew, a local radio DJ, the mayor, and two city council members before he’d gotten halfway across the civic center exhibition hall floor.
When he caught sight of Paul, he couldn’t stop the big shit-eating grin that spread across his face. So much for keeping it discreet—might as well take out an ad on Facebook.
Paul looked scrumptious. His navy sport coat fit his frame like a glove, and he’d only fastened the top button, letting his exposed shirt hint at what lay underneath. Tease. He checked out Huxley, the heat in his gaze telling Huxley Paul liked what he saw.
Carson waggled fingers from a chair to Paul’s left. Huxley and Paul had agreed they wouldn’t go formal, but Carson had pulled out all the stops—classic black tie from head to toe. Each ear sported a tasteful sapphire stud, a departure from his usual hoop and diamond stud. Paul stood as Huxley reached the table, and they exchanged a quick kiss. Huxley didn’t miss Carson’s narrowed gaze.
He took a seat beside Paul, who introduced the others at the table. Sela Brennan, current president of the Oilton LGBT Alliance, and her wife, Carrie Orsborne, as well as Guy Tran, an out city-council member.
“The others are still socializing or staffing the booth,” said Paul. Each organization participating in Great Big Umbrella had a station where staff provided information.
“Speaking of which,” said Sela, “we’re due for our shift.” She and Carrie excused themselves, and Guy also left, saying he needed to mingle.
A server swept in and retrieved the two empty champagne flutes in front of Carson, who snagged a full glass from another waiter passing by.
“Would you like a drink?” asked Paul. “They’re circulating with champagne, but if you want something else, I’ve got bar tickets.”
“White wine would be great, thanks.” Paul gave Huxley a smile that had him biting his lip and went to fetch drinks.
Carson gave Huxley an enigmatic look over the flute. “Dahlink, you’re looking well.”
“So are you. I like the ear studs.”
“Why, thank you, sugar. I’d have worn my gold hoop, but I was afraid I’d be mistaken for the love child of Yul Brynner and Mr. Clean.”
Huxley couldn’t think of a single thing to say.
Carson gave him a barracuda smile and sipped his champagne. “It’s so nice to see Paul looking happy.”
Huxley flushed and made a noncommittal “hmmm.”
Carson leaned forward. “If you hurt him, I will cut you.”
Huxley’s jaw dropped. “I—I—”
Carson sat back and fluttered fingers. “Don’t get your banana hammock in a twist. I’m just saying.”
Paul appeared at his elbow and handed him a glass of wine before slipping into his seat.
Carson smiled and sipped his drink, pinkie splayed. “My goodness, the sweater fags are out in force tonight.”
Huxley glanced at his cashmere sweater before he could stop himself.
“Oh, honey, I didn’t mean you. You’re too young to be a sweater fag.” Carson drained his drink, flagged a passing server, and took two glasses from his tray. “Sugar, I’ll save you some steps.” The server, a brunet twink, giggled, swiveled, and departed doing a runway walk straight out of London Fashion Week.
“My,” said Carson, fanning himself. “That puts me in mind of Valentine’s Day with Topher.”
Seeing Huxley’s puzzled look, he added, “It’s my favorite Andrew Christian video.”
Ah. Underwear model videos. Hoo boy, someone needed to cut Carson off, but Huxley doubted there was anyone in the room with stones that big.
“Oh, and have you seen the new one?” He batted lashes at Paul. “You’d love it. Almost-Naked Construction Workers.” Carson made a moue. “Construction workers my ass. It was perfectly obvious that the only tools any of them have ever touched are the ones in their anatomically correct pouches. Still, they were pretty.”
About the Author
Ava Hayden lives and writes in Alberta, Canada. When not writing, she loves reading yaoi manga and gay romance, baking, seeing plays, hearing live music, and hiking (even though she once came face to face with two grizzlies on a trail). Most of the time her life isn’t that exciting, and that’s fine by her.