BG: Looking for a writer you’ll love? Look no further! Today’s guest is Mickie Ashling and she is a delight both on the page and face to face. I first met Mickie in New York several years back at the first Dreamspinner Press Author Workshop. She was so sweet and so impressed me that I bought her book—Cutting Cords—at the Rainbow Book Fair which was also going on that weekend. I loved it.
But what really touched my heart was when…. Oh! She’s here everybody! Hey Mickie!
Mickie: Hi, Ben!
BG: So glad you came.
Mickie: Thanks for asking me to join you. I’d never say no to a good cup of coffee with some sparkling Ben on the side.
BG: *Blush* Awwwww…. Thanks. I feel the same way about you. Is there anything you specifically like? They’ve got a Yirgacheffe, Ethiopia bean that is amazing!
Mickie: I’ve never tried it. I like my coffee really bold with a bit of cream and two sugars.
BG: I’ll get you the Columbian then. But we’ll have to sneak you some cream and sugar—which I can do. The owner thinks it sacrilegious to have coffee served anyway but black! (Laughs)
Mickie: Really? I’ve never acquired the taste. My mother introduced me to the stuff when I was a preteen, and since she took hers with cream and sugar, I fell into the same habit. We’d share a pot of freshly brewed Barako—a Philippine variety—and gossip early in the morning. That’s another habit I got from her. Waking up at the crack of dawn.
BG: That sounds so wonderful—except maybe the crack of dawn part. I’m getting all gushy inside thinking about it. And speaking of getting all emotional, I was just about to tell my friends here about what happened to me in Orlando. And what you did. I mean there I was, at the annual Dreamspinner Press Author’s Workshop—and I go into atrial fibrillation! I am hundreds of miles from home, husband far away, and I know I have to go to the hospital. And what happens? You offer to go with me.
Mickie: I’d like to think that if the roles were reversed, you’d offer to accompany me to the emergency room. Being sick in a strange city without your husband is scary! I was very happy to hold your hand.
BG: I would. For you for sure!
Mickie: The funny thing is I’m squeamish around medical procedures and have passed out during routine blood screenings. I was praying I’d be strong enough for you. When they inserted the PIC line, I had to turn away so I wouldn’t see the blood. (smiles) In any case, you were squeezing my hand so tightly I don’t think I could have fainted even if I tried. We make a good team, lol!
BG: Hope I didn’t hurt you! And you will never ever know just what that meant to me.
Mickie: I honestly do. Any kind of health scare is terrifying, and having a friend along makes a huge difference. I’m glad I could help.
BG: I was telling my friend Chris we were going to be hanging out and she was pretty excited. She loves your book Daddio. That book has a heck of a cover. A man’s beautiful muscular shirtless back and these very low jeans…and pink lace panties. How did that book come about? I know better than to say “Where do you get your ideas,” but I know personally that certain things happen that trigger ideas for me.
Mickie: Several years ago a couple of things happened. I attended the Taste of Chicago (a famous summer food festival) and bought an ice cream cone from a gorgeous man with colorful tattoos spilling down his right arm. He smiled at me and I was immediately inspired to put him in a story. A few days later, I stumbled on a photo spread, by the famous photographer Thomas Synnamon, called Leather and Lace. The combination of my ice cream guy and the men in silk underwear sparked an idea, and my novel Taste was born. Daddio is the sequel. Men in lace continue to be one of my guilty pleasures.
BG: Now I loved Cutting Cords. It is one of my favorite MM books of all and it turned into a four book series. Weren’t you telling me that Dreamspinner is going to make it available as a bundle? Anything you want to say about that?
Mickie: I believe it will be available in May. No exact date yet, but this is what I’ve been told. I’m thrilled to be able to offer readers the opportunity to buy four full-length novels at a reduced price. The best part is you won’t have to wait a year in between books to find out what happens next. Admittedly, this series is not for the fainthearted. Both of my characters are flawed in their own way. One is a cutter and the other is dealing with a terrible genetic illness which will make him blind. I wanted to write an honest portrayal of a relationship that started out so right and then went terribly wrong. I hope those of you who quit after Vessel will give the series another chance.
BG: *hangs head guiltily*
Mickie: Sloan and Cole are dragged through hell, trying to figure out what they need, and I don’t make it easy by glossing over the problems. Emotional growth usually comes with a stiff price, but the ending is worth every second of angst. I promise.
BG: That series has to have been influenced by your years living abroad, which includes Japan. I think of that and I’m like—Wow! What was it like living in Japan?
Mickie: The truth is I was too young to remember much of my time in Japan. I was an infant when we moved there and left when I was five. Supposedly, my first language was Japanese, but I’m sorry to say I don’t speak a word. Long after we left Japan, my parents continued their love affair with the people, culture, artwork, and cuisine. It’s not surprising I’m drawn to anything Japanese.
BG: And you’ve lived in all over the world! How did that happen and what would you say has been your favorite place to live abroad?
Mickie: My mother’s Spanish parents migrated to the Philippines in the 1920s. My American/Hungarian father was stationed in Manila during World War II. That’s where they met and how we ended up living in that country for many years. As a businessman, Dad traveled the world, so we moved around a lot. I love Spain and visit my relatives as often as I can. The UK, especially Scotland, has been on the forefront of my mind since I began reading historical romances decades ago. I had a chance to tour the region in 2013 and fell in love with the whole country. I think I’d enjoy London or Edinburgh for an extended period of time, but eventually, I’d miss the comforts of home. There’s no place I’d rather live than here.
BG: And finally! Your new book—The Sixth Chukker. I don’t even know what a “chukker” is. Tell me all!
Mickie: The Sixth Chukker is the third book in my polo series, a family drama about polo players that spans decades. The new book picks up where the second ended, and one should read the first two to better appreciate the characters and dynamics. As for your question, the game of polo is divided into six periods or “chukkers.” If you’re interested in learning more about the “The Sport of Kings,” I would recommend you read Fire Horse, book one in the series. Aside from being a great romance, you get a good overview of the sport.
BG: Wow. Mickie, I just can’t tell you how interesting this all is and I could go on and on for hours asking you questions. Thank you so much for being with me here today.
Mickie: It was lots of fun, Ben. Thanks for the coffee and the chat. We’ll have to do this again minus the emergency room.
BG: (Laughs) Please know that Bean says you’re welcome any time. And all you have to do is give me a call and I’ll drop everything and come meet you.
Minus the emergency room!
Mickie: You’re so sweet. Thank you!
BG: It’s easy to be sweet to you.
Title: The Sixth Chukker
Author: Mickie Ashling
Series: Polo Series
Genre: M/M, Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: April 8, 2016
Edition/Formats Available In: eBook & Print
Retired polo players Preston Fawkes and Konrad Schnell have finally found the happiness that eluded them for years. Their stud farm is a big success, and their marriage couldn’t be healthier. Unfortunately, this idyllic life is disrupted by several unexpected sources.
Paloma, Preston’s twenty-one-year-old daughter, is determined to be a 10 goal player before she turns thirty. Bandi, Konrad’s son, dreams of starting a family with his husband, Ned Temple. Paloma offers to surrogate if her father and stepfather come out of retirement and team up with her for one season.
Preston and Konrad would do anything to make their children happy, but they’re confronted with a stumbling block. Trauma specialist Dr. Rayne Carlisle refuses to sign off on the necessary paperwork unless Preston agrees to be his submissive for one week.
Caught between the proverbial rock and hard place, Preston and Konrad deal with disgruntled former lovers, demanding children, and old enemies in this sequel to Ride-Off.
The practice field on Ned’s property was smaller than a standard polo field but big enough to give both horses and players a good workout. Paloma sat proudly on her favorite mount and galloped across the turf at approximately thirty miles an hour, following the line of the ball. She was trying to make a goal before Sergio figured out a way to stop her. She knew he would, it was just a matter of how, and whether or not he’d commit a foul to do it. They’d been going through their paces for the better part of an hour, long before the rest of the house had begun stirring, and so far, she’d found him to be aggressive but mindful of the rules of fair play. A reckless or inexperienced player was a menace to man and beast, and she wanted to make sure that Sergio had the skills, but more importantly, the temperament to know the difference between aggression and prudence. By observing his methods and watching how often he fouled, she could better gauge his behavioral patterns.
She’d seen bad players who thought nothing of crossing a right of way to impede a player’s progress, causing danger to everyone. Sergio had managed to tap the ball away from her several times, earning her respect as well as challenging her to do better. Riding off was allowed so long as it was shoulder to shoulder, and he could push her with his arm above the elbow, too, as long as he kept his arm close to the side. Using your pony to spoil a stroke by riding over the ball and into your opponent who’d already started their downward or backhand stroke was another way to stop an advance, but it was a serious foul. Zigzagging in front of a player wasn’t allowed. Hooking was okay only if a player was on the same side of an opponent’s ball or in a direct line behind, with his stick neither over nor under the body nor across the legs of an opponent’s pony. Reaching over, across, or under any part of an opponent’s pony to strike the ball was considered a foul. Hitting into the legs of the pony was a whistle blower, but often ignored during the height of a game. Windmilling and helicoptering a stick as a form of grandstanding or summoning a referee wasn’t tolerated either. Use of whips and spurs in excess was frowned upon and a sign that the rider had no control over his mount.
Hand in hand with good riding skills was the ability to keep a civilized tongue. Cursing and insulting a fellow player or official after what one might consider a bad call was unacceptable and branded a player as unsportsmanlike. Paloma had often heard that the most important thing to remember about polo was that it was a game to be played with hot blood and a cool head. She had the sizzling portion down pat, thanks to her passionate and fiercely competitive father. Learning to keep her cool under fire was still a work in progress, and having a partner who knew the difference could only help.
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.
Mickie currently resides in a suburb outside Chicago.
Want to keep up with Mickie as well as her latest releases? Then just click on any of the links below!