Author: Layla Dorine
Book: …And All Shall Fade to Black
Page/Word Count: 370 pages
Categories: Contemporary Romance, Gay Romance
Release Date: May 31, 2017
Publisher: Encompass Ink
Cover: Rue Volley
Moving into his new apartment, Jax never expected to have to break up a fight between his new neighbors, resulting in a physical altercation and a visit from the cops. Never in his wildest dreams did he imagine that it would lead to him meeting Danny, the cute theater manager and playwright that lived next door. Unfortunately, his first impression of Danny and the way he’d cowered away in the fight with his ex, wasn’t exactly a favorable one. Jax already has his own issues to deal with, between his past problems with his mother and the chain of men who’ve floated in and out of her life, his new job as a piercer in his sister’s tattoo shop and his struggles with an eating disorder; the last thing he plans to add to it is a relationship. Yet Danny isn’t so easy to ignore and when they find themselves bonding after Danny shows him around town, and more when Jax offers to help with sets for his latest play, it becomes harder and harder for him to ignore the connection forming between them. As Jax’s insecurities and food issues grow more and more out of control, he find himself turning to Danny for help, rather than his longtime friends Callum and Max who lives just downstairs. Danny’s mix of patience, stubbornness and tough love make it harder and harder for Jax to keep his distance, and somewhere in the course of their daily lives, they find themselves moving from being friends, to being more.
All of Jax’s restless shuffling was starting to make Danny a little nervous, especially when he noticed Jax’s eyes dart around the hall. “Hey, what’s going on? Do you want to come in?”
Jax sighed heavily and shook his head. “No thanks, just wanted to say I was sorry. I saw the sticky notes you left on my door, I just, I’m sorry I didn’t respond.”
“No problem, I figured you were busy at the shop and stuff, it’s no big deal. I had free time and thought you might want to hang out if you didn’t have anything else to do.”
That just seemed to make Jax shuffle more.
“I um, didn’t have anything going on. I just didn’t want to hang out is all.”
“Like I said, I’m sorry. It was really cool of you to come down to the shop and pick me up the other night, you didn’t have to do that. You deserve better than me ignoring you.”
“Yeah,” Danny said. “I do, and I deserve better than an apology too. I deserve to know why you’ve been ignoring me, did I do something wrong? If it was about the way I kissed you in the alley, I’m not sorry. I’d wanted to do that since you kissed me in the hall and to be honest, you sent out some pretty mixed singles with how into it you got kissing me back, ‘cause I sure ended that night thinking you were interested in…something. If you’re worried that I’m looking for something intensely serious between us, don’t be. I just got out of a shitty relationship I went into way too fast. I’m not about to make the same mistake again.”
“Yeah, I-I wasn’t trying to assume anything.”
“Weren’t you? Isn’t that exactly why you ignored me? Look, you made it pretty clear you had relationship issues and so did I. Figured as long as we were being honest with one another, we could see where things might go.”
“No, we can’t, because I’ve been down this road one too many times and it always seems to be the guys who at heart, come across as being really nice, nothing like the jerks I actually end up dating. No, you guys blow into someone’s life full of fun and hope and laughter, only to blow right back out again, and the thing that sucks is, I’ve never been able to figure out exactly what it is I’m doing so wrong to make it happen. Maybe you can tell me.”
“I don’t…it’s nothing you did.”
“Oh please, spare me the ‘it isn’t you it’s me’ speech, I’ve about had my fill of that one. What I don’t get though, is why you asked to hang out with me if you were going to turn around and ignore me afterwards? Did I bore you? I did try to warn you that hanging out in a playhouse watching a rehearsal wasn’t going to be very exciting.”
“I enjoyed the rehearsal.”
“I did!” Jax snapped, “Whatever other kind of asshole I might be, I don’t lie.”
That gave Danny pause, and he stared up at Jax’s stormy expression, which for the first time was actually fully focused on him.
“Well that’s something at least. But it doesn’t change the fact that I’m just done. I’m tired of getting my hopes up. I’m tired of putting myself out there only to get stomped on. I’m tired of feeling like I’m somehow lacking or undeserving of good things because so many guys have shown me over and over again that I am not even friend material. Forgettable, that’s what I am. ‘Oh I’ll call you, we’ll go out sometime, have a coffee, see a movie, hang out.’ But the phone never rings and I get it, I do, I’m just not that interesting. But I’m also not in the mood for another person who wants to play games so thanks for the apology, I think it’s best if we go back to just being neighbors.”
About Layla Dorine:
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.
Interview with Layla Dorine:
- As an author myself, I know inspiration is everywhere and can strike at the most inopportune moments (like in the shower, when you don’t have anything to write with!). So, what was the inspiration behind …And All Shall Fade to Black? A friend and I were working with writing prompts one afternoon, and I came across one that said to start a story with the line “If you ever touch him again, I’ll kill you.” As I started to play with it, the image of Danny, the playwright, popped into my head. I could just see him trying to get his boyfriend to leave, the pair of them loud and fighting in the hall of the apartment building before their annoyed new neighbor stalked out and interrupted, breaking up the fight mostly because they were stopping him from getting any sleep. The words, “If you ever touch him again, I’ll kill you,” ended up being the first words Jax spoke to them, they also ended up being used at the end of the book, as Danny is talking to Jax about the possibility of writing a play based off of how they met.
- What is your writing process? I don’t really have one process, every story seems to evolve differently. I’ve had ones where I’ve been able to sit and write them out from start to finish, and I have others where I’ve outlined and done character sheets, tons of research and lots of plotting before I could really get into putting the story on the page. Some have been a mix of both and a few stories have been shelved for long periods before they were finished. I almost always start with a scene or some dialogue though, some little image in my head that prompts the whole thing. I tend to write my first drafts by hand, collecting pieces and ideas and little snippets of scenes along the way before piecing it all together. I go through two beta processes too, one of the very rough first typed draft, and one closer to completion, just to get an idea of how the story is shaping up.
- What do you think makes a good story? Awesome characters, attention to detail, and something new. I hate clichés, I hate predictability, nothing ruins a story for me more than if I know how it is going to end before I get to the ending. A good story has to grab the reader’s attention in the open pages, it needs to have relatable characters and a smooth flow, some surprises, some twists and turns, and it needs to leave the main storyline resolves, even if it presents a secondary storyline to build a sequel off of. A good story should leave the reader wanting more of the characters and not wanting to put the book down in the middle. It should leave them unable to forget what they read and thinking about it even after it’s over.
- Do you have any strange writing habits or rituals? Well, let’s see. I prefer to write outdoors, love to have ear buds with music on while I’m working, tend to write better while traveling. I’ll work through a meal, eating with one hand and writing with another. Everything in the first draft is by hand, and I tend to make a Pinterest board as a storyboard to each piece of work. I make playlists for each story, and usually go find some quiet, out of the way place in the middle of nowhere to work on a story. One of my favorite spots is an old hunting shack in the woods.
- What can readers expect from you next? I’ve got a few stories in the works. One is a business man who falls in love with the escort he hires to go with him to a series of events. Each new encounter makes him more and more curious about the man, and really, the feeling turns out to be mutual, though they have plenty of obstacles to overcome. I also have a wolf shapeshifter book in the works, with alpha/omega/omega dynamics going on. In this one, there’s one omega who doesn’t like the idea of sharing, and it’s going to take a while before he and the others can make it work.
5 Fun Quickies:
- Favorite curse word: Fuck
- You’re auditioning for American Idol, what’s your song?: Lips of an Angel
- Over or under (toilet paper, of course): Under
- Weapon of choice: Knifes
- Evil mastermind, easily convinced partner in crime, or innocent bystander: Partner in crime with a hint of mastermind.