Love Bytes says hello and welcome to author Mickie B. Ashling joining us today for her new release “Through My Own Lens.
Mickie introduces us to the story , shares an exclusive excerpt and brought a giveaway to participate in!
Welcome Mickie 🙂
Thank you for hosting my blog tour and giving me an opportunity to talk about my latest release. Through My Own Lens is the fifth book in the Horizons Series, but catching up isn’t necessary. This new story can be enjoyed as a standalone.
As the blurb mentions, my main characters, Luca Dilorio and Chyna Davidson, have just graduated high school and are headed east to start a new chapter in their lives. Being away from home for the first time can be exhilarating, but it also presents challenges neither one anticipates.
To celebrate the release of Through My Own Lens I bring two gifts to make your holiday season a little brighter. One lucky winner will receive a $25.00 NineStar Press Gift Certificate and the other will get to choose one e-book (excluding Through My Own Lens) from the NineStar Press catalog. Before I go, I’d like to thank Lori at IndiGo Marketing for her excellent work in organizing this book tour.
Chyna’s had a bad reaction to his first full-body waxing.
Days flew by as I was thrust headlong into my new career. The idealized vision of modeling I’d entertained before arriving on the scene was quickly replaced by constant reality checks. There was no such thing as an eight-hour day, and privacy was only a word in the dictionary. Models were as much a commodity as the products we were promoting. The tribe of hairdressers, makeup artists, and wardrobe consultants were in charge of transforming me into a spectacular apparition by the time I stood in front of the camera. It took a professional’s deft hand to hide tiny facial imperfections, tame the curls, and work magic with eye shadows and lip liners to direct the consumer’s gaze in whichever direction the client chose. Sometimes, it was one specific feature, eyes, hands, hair, legs, that needed to be spotlighted, and it was their job to figure out how best to do it.
Mel had set me straight from the beginning and a good thing too. When I first sat in her makeup chair, I’d been presenting as a female and under the misconception I could get away with the charade indefinitely. She’d warned me that nudity was par for the course in the industry, and thinking I could hide behind locked doors to change outfits was ludicrous.
This morning, they’d carted me off to the esthetician, fancy name for a sadistic waxing monster, who’d ordered me to strip and lie down on a table, where she methodically removed every hair on my body, save for a tiny clump around my groin I’d insisted on keeping. It had been pure torture, and what made it worse was the look of contempt on the technician’s face each time I yelped when the wax strip was yanked off. The witch had asked me if she could do my balls as well, adding she’d throw in my lightly furred ass if I stopped whining. I was encouraged to consider the offer since I was already laid out like a frog on a dissecting table.
I clutched the face towel that covered my pubes. “Touch me down there and I swear to God the next scream you hear will be yours.”
The woman’s sneer was infuriating. Was this waxing nightmare going to be a part of my life indefinitely? Mel had encouraged me to keep my androgynous look as it was currently in high demand, and jobs would flow unchecked if I could represent male and female lines. If I insisted on primarily male shoots, I might get away with retaining my body hair, but there would also be a lot of missed opportunities.
I planned to discuss it with Alex later. We’d fallen into a comfortable routine now that secret fears and future dreams had been uncovered. United in our goal to keep ourselves grounded, we worked hard to create a normal home environment. The alternative, falling into the entitled mindset prevalent amongst the superstars, was a sure path to destruction. Models were inherently narcissistic to begin with, and it wouldn’t take much for the daily flattery to go to our heads. The constant ego boost usually led to more damaging forms of entertainment such as drugs and alcohol. A toke here, a snort there, a few shots of tequila or vodka to speed along the process and, voila, an addict of some kind was born. Throw in rampant body image issues and it was easy to turn into a hot mess. Ordinary tasks such as bill paying, cooking, cleaning, walking the dog, and taking out the trash were necessary to keep life real.
After a few of my botched attempts in the kitchen, Alex had offered to take over the cooking when he was in town. He came from a family of restaurateurs and was far better equipped than I’d ever be. Feeling guilty was counterproductive, he remarked after another of my spectacular failures ended up in the trash. I could repay his kindness in other ways. Folding and putting away laundry was something I did well, and I often did a few loads for both of us to make up the deficit.
I stirred through tonight’s offering listlessly. Alex’s chicken dish was delicious, and would have been devoured in record time, except my skin was on fire from the waxing. They’d slathered on some sort of lotion to soothe the burn, but I could still feel the ravaged tissue protesting when I moved. Even the brush of soft cotton against my chest felt uncomfortable.
Bacon did his usual jig when he heard Alex’s key turning the lock. He scampered out of the room, and a few moments later, Alex strolled in with his pup snuggled against his chest.
“Hey, sugar”he said, putting Bacon down and pulling out a chair. “How’s the food?”
“Then why isn’t your plate empty?”
I sighed and pushed my meal toward Alex. “You want it? I’ve barely touched it, and it’s still warm.”
Alex reached for my plate. “What’s the matter?”
I lifted my T-shirt to show off the angry red spots covering my chest.
“Christ!” he exclaimed. “What happened?””
“They turned me into a hairless thing.”
“You must be allergic or something. I’ve been waxed myself and never reacted like that. Why don’t we call your doctor dad and ask him what we should do?”
“I didn’t even think of that.”
“No sense wasting money at the emergency room when he can diagnose this for free.”
“No kidding.” I sent Jody a text to see if he was free to Skype.
Title: Through My Own Lens
Series: Horizons, Book Five
Author: Mickie B. Ashling
Publisher: NineStar Press
Release Date: November 6, 2017
Genre: Contemporary, intersex, gay, family drama, romance, contemporary, addiction, coming of age, mental illness
Luca Dilorio begins his freshman year at Cornell, while his boyfriend, Chyna Davidson, embarks on a modeling career based out of Manhattan, New York. Although Luca is only a five-hour drive away, he may as well be on another planet. Having watched Chyna’s back for years, Luca struggles with the separation. His new roommate, Zeb Araneda, lends an ear, and a solid friendship is born, but it doesn’t keep Luca from worrying.
Chyna learns to navigate the ups and downs of the modeling industry on his own. However, this proves difficult with Luca micromanaging everything, from Chyna’s diet to his choice in a roommate. After rejecting several candidates, Chyna and Luca decide on fellow model, Alex Boulet, who turns out to be perfect in more ways than one.
An unexpected appearance raises a multitude of concerns, and the entire family—Lil, Grier, Clark, Jody, and Chip—descend upon the young couple to offer their help. Will Luca and Chyna weather the storm or succumb to pressure from multiple fronts?
NineStar Press | Amazon | Smashwords | Barnes & Noble | Kobo
Mickie B. Ashling is the pseudonym of a multifaceted woman who is a product of her upbringing in multiple cultures, having lived in Japan, the Philippines, Spain, and the Middle East. Fluent in three languages, she’s a citizen of the world and an interesting mixture of East and West. A little bit of this and a lot of that have brought a unique touch to her literary voice she could never learn from textbooks.
By the time Mickie discovered her talent for writing, real life got in the way, and the business of raising four sons took priority. With the advent of e-publishing—and the inevitable emptying nest—dreams of becoming a published writer were resurrected and she’s never looked back.
She stumbled into the world of men who love men in 2002 and continues to draw inspiration from their ongoing struggle to find equality and happiness in this oftentimes skewed and intolerant world. Her award-winning novels have been called “gut wrenching, daring, and thought provoking.” She admits to being an angst queen and making her men work damn hard for their happy endings.
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One lucky winner will receive a $20.00 NineStar Press Gift Certificate, as well as one e-book from the NSP library (excluding Through My Own Lens).