Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Wednesday Whine & Wine with Mickie B. Ashling

Furry Inspiration (and not the bearish kind)

Hi everyone!  Many thanks to the lovely people behind the Cup o’ Porn blog for hosting me on my Cutting Out blog tour.  

Today I’d like to talk about one of the most beloved characters in my Cutting Cords series, Freddie, Cole’s guide dog.  

When I started writing my novel, I only had one character firmly in place, Sloan, my cutter.  Cole sort of snuck up on me one day when a patient walked into the medical practice I managed.  She was a lovely lady in her late fifties who suffered from the same genetic disease I foisted on poor Cole, retinitis pigmentosa.  What caught my attention was her beautiful black Labrador, Keegan.  He was the sweetest, most obedient guide dog and I fell in love with him instantly.  I was so taken with this animal I decided to add him to my story.  Every time this kind lady had an appointment, I would sit with her while she waited for the doctor, asking her questions about guide dogs.  She was more than gracious and even offered to give me a private interview to share the process of finding the perfect match.  Here’s an excerpt from Cutting Cords that describes it all.

“Guide Dogs of America.  How may I help you?”

Cole introduced himself and started the initial process of acquiring a guide dog.  He’d opted for GDA because of the many endorsements he’d read on their Website, as well as recommendations from people at Lighthouse.  One important factor was that they accepted applicants who were not completely blind.  They had certain criteria for range of vision, and Cole seemed to fit within their parameters.  Right now he was still considered legally blind.  Someday he’d be completely blind but that day had yet to come.

He was told the process could take anywhere from three to six months, depending on how fast the paperwork requirements were fulfilled.  The most important thing he learned was the he had to be an independent traveler, well able to take public modes of transportation on his own.  This included subways and buses, in addition to escalators and elevators.

Part of the application involved a home interview, as well as personal references and medical reports to determine the extent of his eye problems. After all the paperwork was complete and he was approved, Cole would be required to fly to Los Angeles and take a bus to the town of Slymar, which was located in the San Fernando Valley.  That was where the training would take place.

He would be assigned a personal trainer, along with his own guide dog, but he would have to remain there for twenty-eight days.  When he asked how they determine the type of dog he would receive he was told they took several factors into consideration, such as lifestyle, personality, and environment.  Also important was his size and strength, the pace of his walk, and his energy level.

The most amazing thing of all was that these dogs were free! They were donated to the right candidates, rather than sold.  It was a revelation to Cole that a society like this even existed.  Because GDA was a charity-based organization, they were fastidious in their selection.  Their primary concern was making sure the dog and the owner were a good match and would be able to work well together.  It was very rare that a dog and owner were not a good fit, but it did happen, so the twenty-eight day training out in California was a critical time for both dog and master.  Cole asked about dog breeds and was informed that seventy percent of their guide dogs were Labrador Retrievers.  The remaining thirty percent were divided between Golden Retrievers and German Shepherds.

  I chose a Golden Retriever for Cole and named him Freddie after Freddie Mercury of Queen, one of Sloan’s idols (and mine).  Freddie has been present in all four books of this series and, as I mentioned in the beginning of this post, a favorite character.  

*****  *****

Today, Mickie will be offering one e-book in the Cutting Cords Series (excluding Cutting Out) to a lucky commenter on this post, so, leave a comment and your email coordinates to be entered into the random drawing.  And be sure to come back on Friday for our Friday Free-For-All and another giveaway (an e-book copy of Cutting Out) from Mickie.  

*****  *****

Cutting Out

Hours after stepping off the yacht where they had their mock wedding, real life intrudes, and arguments arise between Sloan Driscoll and Trent Hamilton.  Seeking relief at his BDSM club, Trent bumps into an old army buddy who tells him things are different now that DADT has been repealed. 

Meanwhile, Sloan receives a frantic call from ex-lover, Cole Fujiwara, who tells him that his twins and ex-wife have been kidnapped. Cole asks Sloan for help but makes him promise not to include Trent in the rescue attempt.

Trent considers the opportunity to resume a career cut short, and despite Sloan's threat to postpone the wedding, he leaves for the Middle East as an independent mercenary while Sloan rushes to aid Cole.

Description: Tokyo, disturbing revelations draw the former couple together, and old feelings are rekindled. Despite this new understanding, neither man makes a move.  Sloan is focused on rescuing Cole’s family without jeopardizing his relationship with Trent, while Cole must prepare himself to survive disappointment if Sloan chooses to segue into married life as a military spouse.  

Buy Links
Dreamspinner | Amazon | ARe  

Mickie B. Ashling is the alter-ego of a multifaceted woman raised by a single mother who preferred reading over other forms of entertainment. She found a kindred spirit in her oldest child and encouraged her with a steady supply of dog-eared paperbacks. Romance was the preferred genre, and historical romances topped her favorites list.

By the time Mickie discovered her own talent for writing, real life had intruded, and the business of earning a living and raising four sons took priority. With the advent of e-publishing and the inevitable emptying nest, dreams were resurrected, and the storyteller was reborn.

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 loves to travel and has lived in the Philippines, Spain, and the Middle East but currently resides in a suburb outside Chicago.


A special thank you to PAS Promotions for their expert handling of my blog tour


  1. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to talk about one of my favorite characters:)

  2. My father's desire in his retirement was to raise guide dogs, but cancer prevented that. He loved labs, but goldens are nice too.

  3. I am looking forward to reading this series. I will definitely be binge reading it.

  4. Have not read anything by Mickie yet, must remedy that now. The series sounds amazing.

    goaliemom0049 (at) gmail (dot) com

  5. I love dogs, I was happy when Cole chose Freddie instead of the cane! ^___^

  6. Oh this is a new series for me, although I do have a few other books by Mickie B Ashling, and I was very interested in reading about Freddie and the wonderful GDA.

    Thank you for a chance to win a copy of this book :) slholland22 {at} hotmail {com}

  7. This series sounds wonderful. Thank you for the excerpt. Aahickmanathotmaildotcom

  8. Wonderful post. Thanks for the chance
    jasdarts at hotmail dot com

  9. I've loved goldens ever since I read a book about them as a child.


  10. Goldens are just so gorgeous, aren't they? Looking forward to reading more about Freddie!


  11. I enjoy learning about important characters in books.I haven't yet read any on this series. They are TBR.

  12. I love that you named the guide dog Freddie. I lived practically around the corner from his namesake in the late eighties/early nineties.

    yvonnereads11 at gmail dot com