We’re so pleased to have author Layla Dorine with us today on the tour for her latest release, Guitars and Choices, book two in the Guitars series.
Hi, Lisa, thank you for having me on your blog today and allowing me to share a little bit about Guitars and Choices and some of the interesting places it was written at. You see, I’ve never been very good at sitting still indoors, even in winter, I like to be outside in the fresh air, listing to the sounds of nature and wandering around on the trails, so very little of Guitars and Choices was actually written on the computer. The first draft, in fact, was hand written in notebooks, while sitting in observation towers or bumpy, moss covered logs out in the woods.
There’s also a little ramshackle wooden blind out in the woods that makes a great thinking spot, and many hours were spent sitting in it, listening to the birds and working on the story. Out here in North Central Iowa there are a ton of trails to walk on, many with creeks that wind through or that spill out alongside the rivers. I love going on the deer paths, rather than the proper walking tails, for one, I never see anyone on them, it’s just me and the critters, but there’s also that feeling of getting swallowed up by the forest that lets the mind drift a bit and the characters come through a little longer.
The woods aren’t my only writing spot, though, so many things are shaped and created on road trips, either staring out the window or more recently from the back of my friend’s trike. Watching the countryside rush past is really cathartic, a bit of wind therapy so to speak. It’s like when the bike starts up, all worries, concerns, issues, ect just melt away and it’s just me and the voices of my characters ringing in my head.
Guitars and Canvases, which will be book 3, is slowly taking shape on these weekend rides, and as I plan to be in Colorado in October, I hope to get quite a bit of it done there. I always find that stepping outside my living space is really the best way for me to create, so give me the open road and I’ll create world of characters and conflict.
About the Book
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.
Guitars and Choices is the sequel to Guitars and Cages, newly re-released on Amazon and Amazon KU for .99.
About 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.
Guitars and Choices Trailer
It was a surreal feeling, to be driving into town in Chase’s old pickup, his brother’s old cowboy hat on the dash. He hadn’t had the heart to remove it, despite the pang of loss that shot through him each time he glanced to the right and saw it sitting there. Conner had asked him if he could move it, but Asher had shaken his head and said “Not yet,” grateful that his boyfriend had left it at that. The radio was still set to country, something Conner was getting used to and Asher was discovering how much he’d missed. The volume was on low so they could talk and Conner wouldn’t have to yell at him each time he wanted Asher to pull over.
It was amusing how often that was, but Asher discovered he didn’t mind. The things he could drive past without noticing drew Conner’s photographic eye and Asher found himself learning to appreciate them in a whole other way as Conner patiently explained lighting and shadows and f-stops to him. Conner had even offered to let him take a few photos to see how he liked it, but Asher had been too afraid of damaging the camera to accept. Such a small thing in his rough, fighter’s hands; he’d scoffed and told Conner he’d leave the picture taking to him.
Besides, the vision in his right eye wasn’t the greatest; too much damage over the years from fists trying to cave in the side of his face, or the cage gouging at the skin around it. He doubted he’d be able to capture anything like the amazing images Conner delighted in showing him night after night. He was happy to see Conner happy and settling in so well, though he was pretty sure today was going to be a bit of a challenge for him. They were on their way to a swap meet and livestock auction; a horse trailer was attached to the back of the truck and cages were in the truck bed, and a carefully drawn up list he and Morgan had spent hours compiling was tucked safely in his pocket.
“Oh, wow…” Conner breathed, voice low, but filled with the excited edge Asher had gotten used to. Without even looking to see what Conner had spotted, he began to pull over, bringing the truck to rest on the crest of road beside the ditch. Conner leaned out the window, the shutter rapidly going off while Asher sat wondering why he hadn’t gotten out. It took a moment before Asher saw what had captured Conner’s attention: a flock of turkeys grazing in a recently harvested field. Asher watched as one of the birds shook itself and then opened its large tail feathers, giving Conner a gorgeous shot of its plumage.
When he was done, Conner turned back toward Asher, a smile of wonder on his face, and it was enough to make Asher’s stomach flutter, ’cause damn, his boyfriend was gorgeous and he was feeling pretty lucky as Conner reached out and guided a lock of hair back from his face.
“Thank you,” Conner murmured, then leaned forward, brushing his lips across Asher’s. Asher slid his hand into Conner’s hair and deepened the kiss, not pulling back until both of them were breathless and gazing at one another with desire.
“I like watching you work,” Asher blurted out. “The way the tip of your tongue peeks through your lips when you’re focused on capturing something, the way you move when you start looking for different angles, I just… I enjoy it.”
Conner’s face lit up and he captured Asher’s mouth in a kiss. “I was afraid you were going to get frustrated with all the stopping.”
“I gotta be honest, I thought at first I would, but the more I watch how excited you are, and the more you share with me what you’re doing, the more interested I get. I’m not ever gonna understand all the art stuff you and Alexia do, but I’m learning to enjoy it just the same.”
Conner beamed, and Asher wished they could just cuddle up on the front seat of the van the way they cuddled in bed at night, taking turns being the big and little spoons, talking each other’s ears off until one of them fell asleep. He’d found a contentment he’d never thought possible in the short time they’d been together, and he felt as if he owed it all to Conner for accepting him, flaws and all.
“We’d better get going,” he said at last, reluctant, but knowing that he and Conner had a lot of things they needed to accomplish that day. For a while they drove in silence, Asher humming along with the radio, the fall wind ruffling his hair through the open windows.
“So, how does this whole swap-meet thing work, anyway?” Conner asked. “It can’t all be trading, unless that’s what the cages in the back are for.”
Asher chuckled. “No, though they could be, if we didn’t need them. Some people will trade outright—my old man used to, when we had an overabundance of something—but since we’re just starting out, we’ve got to buy whatever we can get a deal on.”
“Why didn’t Morgan come?”
Asher’s grip on the steering wheel tightened. “He was gonna come, but I asked him to let me do it. Figured I needed to show my face in town sooner rather than later; was afraid if I didn’t, I’d keep making up excuses to hide at the ranch.”
About the Author
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.