Blog Tour: Exclusive Excerpt & Giveaway, Gnarly by Mickie B. Ashling

Thanks for stopping by to help me celebrate my latest release, Gnarly, a long novella, which is part of Dreamspinner’s World of Love collection. The setting for this story is San Sebastian, a beautiful seaside town in Northern Spain (Basque Country). Those of you who know me are aware my mother was Basque. I still have many relatives in that part of the world and visit as often as possible.

Gnarly is a standalone. The only similarity to my other series featuring a Basque character (Loving Edits Series) is that it’s m/m/m. There’s something about the area that compels me to write polyamorous relationships. I’m not certain why. My best guess is the overabundance of eye candy. I had the opportunity to spend six weeks in San Sebastian—Sanse as the locals call it—last summer, and left with a small arsenal of plot bunnies.

Basques are passionate about cooking and eating. Since they’ve been fishing in the Northern Atlantic since the eleventh century, the catch of the day has always provided nourishment for their people. Salt cod, bacalao, is a staple, and my ancestors are masters at turning this salty fish into something sumptuous. Today, I’m sharing a recipe for Bacalao a la Vizcaina.

Before we move on to the recipe and short excerpt, I’d like to thank the wonderful ladies who run On Top Down Under for hosting my blog tour visit and my publicist J for her excellent help in organizing everything.


Title: Gnarly
Author: Mickie B. Ashling
Series: Dreamspinner’s World of Love collection (Spain)
Genre: M/M/M, Contemporary Gay Romance
Length: 172 pages
Cover Artist: Brooke Albrecht
Release Date: June 21, 2017


Dr. Ed Hollingsworth, widowed for five years, returns to San Sebastián, Spain, after a thirty-year absence. He seeks out his first and only male lover, pro surfer Javi Elizalde.

After surviving a near-fatal shark attack, Javi turned his back on the sport he loves and became a recluse.

Iker Lizaso, professional jai alai player, finds himself at loose ends now that his contract has expired. Forced to retire at thirty-eight, he returned to his home in the Basque Country to figure out what to do with the rest of his life.

Three different men, encumbered by their past, converge in a city famous for its food, summer festivals, and romantic promenades. Can they find happiness together? It’ll be difficult, maybe even improbable, considering their backgrounds, but Cupid’s arrow usually hits the mark, and this particular strike might be epic.


Dreamspinner Press


Barnes & Noble

RECIPE: Bacalao a la Vizcaina


  • 1 large salted cod loin
  • 1 large onion
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 2 roasted peppers (preferably red)
  • 1 chopped tomato
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • Extra virgin olive oil


  • Soak the cod loin in water for 24 hours, changing the water frequently to get rid of some of the salt
  • The next day, insert the cod loin in a pan with cold water and heat. Remove from the range when it begins to boil.
  • Cover the bottom of a frying pan with olive oil. Stir-fry the diced onion until it begins to brown, then add the garlic cloves, peppers, and chopped tomato.
  • When all the ingredients are lightly fried add the flour. Let it toast a little.
  • Add some of the broth in which the cod was cooked (two cups) and let it boil at low heat. This broth has the flavor and jelly of the cod.
  • When the sauce thickens add the cod and keep on simmer until it’s time to eat.
  • Serve with rice or a loaf of crusty bread.


Ed stood in front of the full-length mirror, unsure why he was primping for a lunch date. Javi had seen him at his worst that morning, and his opinion wasn’t going to change if Ed’s outfit was subpar. Nonetheless, he wanted to look good. This was their first date in three decades, a one-on-one in a public venue, which would allow them to sift through the misunderstandings amicably.

Ed had disrespected Javi by ignoring him all these years. Now he wanted to show him that his good opinion mattered, and dressing up instead of down would also prove his interest hadn’t faded. Javi might be a gnarlier version of the man he used to be, but Ed was still attracted to him. Adding a few spritzes of cologne as a finishing touch, he exited the apartment and walked briskly toward Javi’s place.

Apparently they were of similar minds, because Ed took one look at Javi in his mint green short-sleeved shirt and beige pants and knew he’d dressed for a date. The color of his shirt worked perfectly with his hazel eyes and deep auburn hair. He’d trimmed his beard and shampooed, leaving the longish locks to dry in soft waves around his face. Ed tried not to stare at Javi’s legs, but he did see one boat shoe stick out of his pants instead of his usual flip-flop. The other pant leg hung empty, a painful reminder of his recent altercation with fate.

“You clean up nice,” Ed said.

Javi smirked. “You too.”

“Where are we going?” Ed asked.

“Have you eaten at Saltxipi?”


“Let’s go there,” Javi said. “I know the owner, and he’ll give us a good table.”

“That’s fine.”

Ed wanted to offer his arm but hesitated. Javi might resent the implication and Ed preferred to keep things on an even keel, so he slowed his pace, letting Javi take the lead. They didn’t have too far to travel, and when they got to the restaurant, they were greeted by an older gentleman who recognized Javi immediately.

“It’s nice to see you,” he said. “You’re looking well.”

Javi returned the greeting, allowing the brief hug and thump on his back. “Thank you,” he replied. “How are you, my friend?”

“Everything is going well. Are you both staying for lunch?”

“Yes. Would you find us a quiet corner?”

“Absolutely. I have just the right spot.”

Settled in an alcove, they ordered a carafe of wine and a few appetizers to start. For the main dish, Javi requested paella, which would take about thirty minutes to prepare, giving them time to chat. Raising his glass, Javi toasted, “Salud.”


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.


Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads & Ask the Author | Website | Email



Win a $10 Dreamspinner Press gift card! Contest open internationally. Must be 18 or older to enter.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


June 21 – The Novel Approach

June 23 – Molly Lolly

June 26 – Love Bytes

June 28 – On Top Down Under

June 30 – Bayou Book Junkie

July 3 – MM Good Book Reviews

Leave a Reply

19 Comments on "Blog Tour: Exclusive Excerpt & Giveaway, Gnarly by Mickie B. Ashling"

Notify of
Sort by:   newest | oldest
Mickie B. Ashling

Thanks for hosting!


Even though I’ve had a lot of lackluster dried cod in my life, this recipe sounds delightful!

Mickie B. Ashling

I hope you’ll give this recipe a try. It’s good!

Jen F

I’m loving all these interesting recipes. Although each post does make me hungry (or thirsty in the case of the sangria one).


Mickie B. Ashling

I know! I miss the food from that region.

Shirley Ann Speakman

I enjoyed the excerpt I see Ed and Javi both deciding to dressing for a date interesting! Thank you for the recipe too.

Mickie B. Ashling

Dressing up to socialize is expected in that part of the world.


Thank you for the recipe and the excerpt! Congratulations for the book release 🙂

Mickie B. Ashling

You’re welcome! Thanks for stopping by.


Congratulations for the book release and thanks for the excerpt


I’ve never had it. Thank you for the recipe. Good luck with the release =)

Mickie B. Ashling

Thank you!


I enjoyed Ed and Javi’s reunion date and also like the recipes you have shared. This one seems like it would be light but still filling.

Mickie B. Ashling

It’s quite good. Thanks for stopping by today.

Give A Rose

Oh, goodness. I haven’t had Bacalao a la Viscaina in eons! Such a delicious dish. Need to make it soon since it’s so easy and delicious!
Much success to you, Mickie.

Purple Reader

Congrats and thanks for the post. I’d love to visit Spain, and I can via your story, and the polyamorous relationship sounds intriguing.

jodi marinich

congrats and enjoyed the excerpt


Thanks for the recipe & excerpt!