Monday, July 13, 2015

Book Tour: M/M ~ Guitars and Cages by Layla Dorine ~ (ARC Review, Author Interview, Excerpt, Book Trailer + Giveaway)

Book Tour: M/M ~ Guitars and Cages by Layla Dorine ~ (ARC Review, Author Interview, Excerpt, Book Trailer + Giveaway)
Guitars and Cages Blog Tour
Book Information:
Title: Guitars and Cages
Author: Layla Dorine
Genre: gay fiction, urban drama, contemporary, M/M fiction
Length: Novel

Publisher: Wayward Ink Publishing


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.

“Uncle Asher, Uncle Asher!”
Oh God, one more hour of rest, please, is that too much to ask? One more hour, and then I swear, I’ll get up and take the kid to the park or the zoo or the aquarium or the movies or wherever the hell it is that he’s gonna beg for me to take him today. I’ll get him McDonald’s, an ice-cream sundae, a slice of his favorite pizza, anything for sixty more minutes of sleep. And yet still the bouncing continued, as well as the loud repeating of my name. Apparently, silence wasn’t making the point and the kid wasn’t gonna go away without some sort of verbal acknowledgement from me. I groaned, and he began his singsong chant again. When the hell did they grow outta that shit, anyway?
“Uncle Asher, Uncle Asher, Uncle Asher, Uncle Asher!”
Every word punctuated with a bounce, goddammit all; whoever said you had to die to be in hell was a bloody fool.
Rory!” I roared, realizing as he toppled from the bed and landed on the floor with a thud that I’d likely scared the hell out of him.
Silence, oh blessed, blessed silence.
“Uncle Asher?” he asked hesitantly now, and much, much quieter. I groaned, as the silence had been far too fleeting.
“Rory, is the apartment on fire?” I asked, refusing to pull the pillow away from my face and acknowledge the sunlight that I knew was shining into the room.
“Are the cops at the door?”
“No,” he responded with a bit of a sigh.
“Is the whor... err, my girlfriend at the door?” I asked, hoping he hadn’t caught my little slip.
“Uh-uh,” he said solemnly. Well, that was a good thing, anyway; I was beginning to not be as fond of her as I’d once been.
“So, is the Super at the door demanding rent?” I asked, figuring that was a bit of a long shot since I’d paid the rent at the start of the week.
“Nope,” he said, and I could feel him climb up and sit on the edge of the bed.
“Has the zombie apocalypse started?”
“Uhh no, but wouldn’t that be awesome?”
I chuckled into the pillow. Awesome wasn’t quite the word I’d use, but hell, if several people I knew managed to get themselves turned into walking corpses at the very least I could shoot them in the head and actually get away with it.
“Have aliens landed on the roof?” I asked him, and now he was laughing.
“Don’t they only land in cornfields?” he replied, and I groaned and let out a long-suffering sigh.
“So let me get this straight. There’s no mass hysteria, no flames, no one at the door, and no zombies on the streets, and yet you’re waking me up a whole hour before I told you it was okay?”
“Well, yeah, but you gotta get up or you’re gonna be in trouble,” Rory said in a quiet voice that sort of scared me. It certainly got the pillow from over my face, and I opened my eyes, blinking at the soaking-wet form of him sitting on my bed. Why was he soaking wet and fully dressed and getting water all over the place? And did I really want to know?
“What did you do?” I groaned. I don’t wanna know, I don’t wanna know, I don’t wanna know, a voice inside my head practically screamed as I could hear what sounded like running water hitting the floor in the other room. I threw the sheet aside and bolted toward the sound—too fast, because as soon as I hit the next room I went skidding across the damned linoleum floor and crashing into the kitchen cupboards.

Tracy's Review:
5 Stars

*Copies provided to Bayou Book Junkie by author/publisher via Eyes On Books in exchange for an honest review*

This book was not what I thought I was getting. I thought this was a M/M romance. It isn't. What it is, is an amazing story of one very messed up young man, and his journey to finally admitting to and accepting himself for who and what he is, with a tiny undertone of a romance. There is no HEA, but you'll be left satisfied. I was, yet I was left wanting more. I really hope the author finishes Asher's story. I think there are a lot more layers of this character to explore, and I'd love to see where the future takes him and, hopefully Connor. They had an amazing chemistry and I'm very sad that it wasn't explored. I'd love to see a book two or at least a novella to explore Asher and Connor.

This was a captivating story. I couldn't put it down. The secondary characters of Morgan, Alex/Alexia, Rory, Cole, and Connor were very well developed and added to the storyline.

The author made me feel. She took me on an emotional rollercoaster. There were times that, I hated Asher, and times when my heart broke for this poor lost soul. He frustrated me at times, as well, and I just wanted to shake him and scream at him, but I loved him none the less. The author pulled me into his very dysfunctional family, and made me feel like a part of it.

I loved this book,and I look forward to more from this author in the future. Highly recommended!!

Guitars and Cages by Layla Dorine

Author Interview:

Hi Layla!! 
We are so excited to have you drop by here at Bayou Book Junkie today, to talk to us. Thanks for being here! 
Hi, Tracy. Hello Mari. Thank you both for inviting me. I’ve never done anything like this before. This is actually pretty exciting. I still find myself a bit blown away and humbled by the fact that not only is Guitars and Cages published, but now get to actually pop in around the web and discuss it with others. I’d like to take a moment to thank Lily and her entire staff at Wayward Books for making this a reality. I’d also like to thank Jay Aheer for the amazing cover artwork, it completely blew my mind when I saw it. 
What inspired this story?                             
No one thing actually inspired it, it was more like the characters woke up one morning and decided that it was time they got some things off their chests. The first ten chapters started out as character building roleplays for an online game I’ve been involved in for about seventeen years. The characters in Guitars and Cages had been in my story world for so long that they’d grown stale being played as gothic, near silent beings wandering through the game world and they wanted their stories told. When I first sat down to start, I looked back over the history of the family, the events that had unfolded in game play over the years, and I kept coming back to the accident that had taken Chase’s life, or rather, Asher did. Within the roleplay world I never really explored the effects losing Chase had on his siblings, so I took this as a chance to do so. 
Somewhere around what became chapter 8 or 9, I realized I had far more material running through my mind than I could ever conceivably make part of the game.  I also realized that I simply could not stop telling their story. Once the floodgates had been opened, Asher and the others were not willing to allow me to stop, so, I started a fresh word document and started piecing together the roleplays, filling in the gaps, and letting the story flow.
There are a lot of characters in this story. Can you talk about what qualities you love about each of them?
Asher I love for his flaws, for the fact that he is loyal, proud, protective and never, ever sees the good in himself. He’s scared and though he will rarely admit that to others, he admits it to himself all the time and that’s where his lies come in. They are his shield. He’s got a soft heart, though a poor way of showing it, and for all his flaws, I’ve always been able to see what he could be, if given half the chance. 
As for Cole, he shares many of the same qualities as his brother, though it’s even harder for him to show them.  He masks his hurts with anger and lashes out to protect himself. He’s a survivor, he’s been so focused on surviving for so long that he tends to view others as threats first, before really taking the time to figure them out. Of all of the brothers, he is also the one who most wanted to please the man who they believed was their father. He’s still trying, even though the old man has little to no contact with them now and would never acknowledge it even if Cole was successful. There is a hurt kid buried really deep beneath all the rage and hate in Cole, and one day I plan to tell his story and see if all of that can’t be unburdened a bit.
Of all the characters in the story, Alexia was the biggest surprise. She’d shown me glimpses of her true self over the years, but here, she was finally able to emerge. Her strength and her continued love for her brothers is what I admire most about her. Her love of art comes directly from me, and her desire to make films comes from my roomie. She’s brave, loving and strives to be true to herself, despite the opposition.
Morgan was another long-time character, and has played many roles in the brother’s lives. Father and protector, however, have always been the qualities I admire most about him. He is a good man who’s traveled a lot of roads in his life, he has a lot of knowledge to share and lesson to teach if they are willing to listen. 
Conner is my newest character, to tell the truth, he sort of snuck in the story and carved out a huge part of it for himself. His persistence, his willingness to look deeper at Asher, his compassion and his curiosity are some of the many things I came to love about him. 
Rory is a wonderful little imp. He’s precocious, inquisitive, mischievous, and he really keeps Asher on his toes. He’s also thoughtful, and able, with the most innocent questions, to bring out a somewhat softer side of Asher. 
With Anne, she’s an animal lover like me and Asher, her compassion for them is one of my favorite qualities, as is her no BS take charge style. She’s a good judge of character and willing to go the extra mile for those who win her approval. 
This is the second novel I’ve written in which Dr. Hozman plays a big part. The other has also been picked up for publication by Wayward Ink, so for those who enjoy the good doctor, you will certainly see more of him. I really found myself coming to appreciate his methods of using counseling and journal keeping to help his patients, rather than loading them up on drugs.  
Is there a message in this book you would like readers to grasp?
Yes, absolutely, there are a couple, actually. The first and most important is: Don’t Judge. Don’t presume you know someone based on how they look, or even how they might act in front of you. Unless you’ve walked a mile in their moccasins you never know what kinds of hurts they’ve been hiding or what kinds of things they’ve endured. Judging someone is like slamming a door between you and them, even if you don’t realize that it’s there, you’ve created something that most times can’t ever be breeched, and sometimes that costs people the opportunity to get to know someone special. 
My second message is don’t let fear define you. Don’t let it rule your actions, don’t let it dictate how you treat people. Look at what you are afraid of, ask yourself why you are afraid. Fear can lead people to do horrible things, it can lead people to change themselves, loose themselves, it ruins lives and makes the world a darker place. It needs to be confronted, not run from. 
Lastly: Be true to YOU. Don’t let others dictate what you should think, what you should believe, or who you should be. Know yourself, be confident in yourself, and never be afraid to be proud of who you are. Almost every negative thing that happens in Guitars and Cages happens because someone is trying to be someone or something they are not. So dare to take chances, confront adversity head on, be stubborn, be creative, but most of all, be you. 
Can you share the project(s) you are currently working on? 
Sure. I have three that are in various stages of completion. One is a fantasy featuring snake shifters and a ton of political intrigue, with a sprinkle of romance dabbled in. It features a somewhat uptight snake shifter from a very prominent house within their aristocracy, and a bounty hunting snake with an attitude, who isn’t even fully sure of exactly who or what he is. 
The second is a rock star romance, complete with brooding lead singer/guitarist, determined and protective body guard, and a stalker who just can’t seem to take no for an answer. 
As for the third, it features a supercross rider and a short order cook, along with an eclectic cast of other characters. It’s part romance and part friendship with a little bit of redemption tossed in. 
Besides writing what else do you enjoy doing?
Well, let’s see. I’m a digital artist, I make mixed media images that are part drawing, part photo, and a whole lot of photoshop fun. I’m also an avid photographer and love to spend huge chunks of my spring and fall months in the woods taking pictures of plants and animals. One of the most amazing things I’ve seen out in the woods was a coyote zig zagging through the forest. I love to fossil hunt, and have unearthed several Bison, American Camel, and Cave Bear teeth in the creeks near my town. Of course,  I love reading, books were my best friends growing up as an only child. I actually tried writing my first novel when I was about 12, after reading The Outsiders for about the 20th time. If I can’t be outdoors, I’m either reading or cooking, which is another favorite pastime. I like to travel, see historic places, waterfalls, and events like rodeos and draft horse pulls. Music has always been a huge part of my life, I play guitar, piano, and am learning harmonica, along with the wooden flute. I love music, especially live shows and go as often as I can. I also make homemade farm wines, and hold a second degree black belt in Tae Kwon Do. 
Thanks again, Layla for being with us today, we had a wonderful time talking to you and I REALY enjoyed this book!! 

Thank you both again for having me. I really enjoyed the questions and a chance to give a little more insight into the world of Guitars and Cages. 

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Book Trailer


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Prize: $20 WIP Gift Card and 1 ebook copy of Guitars and Cages

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.
Layla Dorine can be found at:

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