Celebration of Community: Mickie Ashling, Damon Suede, and B.G. Thomas

Celebration of Community: Mickie Ashling, Damon Suede, and B.G. Thomas
Monday May 14, 2018

Mickie Ashling on Damon Suede


In April 2015 I was stuck on a sex scene and sent a shout-out to Damon Suede on Facebook. I posted a steamy inspiration shot to go along with my query. Damon responded with helpful advice immediately, but so did one of the guys in the photo! A friend had tagged him to ask if he was in the shot. Turns out the guy is a very popular porn star. Oops… I had no idea! He was very gracious and gave me permission to continue using him for inspiration. J Jonathan has been my Facebook buddy ever since.


BG Thomas on Mickie Ashling

So, it was early in the morning that I was about to fly to Orlando, FL, for the annual Dreamspinner Press Author’s Workshop when the chest pains hit. I tried to chalk them off to heartburn because... it was mere hours before I was supposed to leave! To be with my fellow writers of gay romance. People who understand me like no others. Truly sisters and brothers. I knew if I went to the hospital, there was no way the doctors would let me go. I could not miss my Dreamspinner trip. My year revolves around that weekend. All that I learn. Companionship and communion and conversation and laughs like I have no other time. I couldn’t miss it!

I stupidly decided to ignore the pains deep in my chest, even though I suspected what was really going on. I’d had a heart attack nearly two decades before, and since then, every few years I have gone into atrial fibrillation. But I just kept telling myself over and over and over: it’s heartburn!

The plane trip was miserable. I kept praying the feeling would go away, but by the time I got to Florida, I couldn’t ignore what was happening. I could barely walk to the taxi station. It wasn’t so much the pain as it was that my heart was racing as if I were running a marathon. Walking even a short distance was exhausting. But what should I do? I decided to go to the hotel and sleep. Maybe I would snap out of it. I have before.

But after a long nap, it was worse. I knew I would probably have to go to the hospital. But there I was, thousands of miles from home, without my husband, my rock and strength. How scary is that? To not only leave all my friends, but to be totally alone?

I went to the registration for the workshop, and there was Elizabeth North, publisher of Dreamspinner. She took one look at me and knew I was in trouble. She sat me down and had me tell her what was going on. She told me I needed to get to the hospital.

And I was terrified.

And then...

Along came Mickie Ashling.

Mickie is one of the first fellow authors of m/m Romance that I ever met, and I found her so sweet and delightful that I bought her book “Cutting Cords” that first weekend—the first Dreamspinner weekend! I dearly loved the book, and I can hardly recommend it or the series or any of her books enough. She quickly became one of my favorite m/m writers.

Mickie saw what was happening. The hotel staff called to make arrangements to get me to the hospital. I don’t know what else she saw. My disappointment? My fear? Heck! My terror? But she came to me and asked me if I would like her to go along with me.

“But you have opening night! Mingling! Hugging! Conversation! Cocktails!”

Mickie did not hesitate. She went with me. She was with me every step of the way. Right by my side. She even held my hand when I had to get my IV. I hate needles. But IVs are horrible. Especially because they often have interns and students in the emergency room installing them, people with little experience, and it is often very uncomfortable and even painful. Mickie held my hand.

“I do not like getting IVs,” I told her (embarrassingly, in tears).

“I know,” she said, wringing her hand. I guess I had squeezed it pretty hard!

I don’t know how long Mickie stayed with me that evening—I lost all track of time—but it had to be hours. We talked about writing, what it was like to write m/m, relationships, kids, all kinds of stuff. She talked to doctors and nurses and kept me calm. Let me use her phone (I couldn’t get bars for some reason) to make sure I got hold of my husband.

When she finally, exhausted, told me she needed to get back to the hotel, she left me in a state where I could do it on my own. Because you know what? I wasn’t on my own. I could feel her caring and love, as well as Elizabeth North’s. I had Mickie with me, even when she left.

Luckily, with meds, they got me out of the dangerous part of the atrial fibrillation. The next afternoon I returned to the hotel, thanks to the husband of my wonderful editor, Andi Byassee.

And when I walked into the big hotel room filled with my fellow authors? The lecture stopped, everyone turned my way, and I got a standing ovation. I am tearing up again remembering it—so vivid!

Dreamspinner Press is more than my publisher. More than the people encouraging me to be the best I can be. They are people who care. And I wouldn’t give them up for anything.

So thank you once again, Mickie. There are no words to express how much you helped me that night. I hope this says it, just a little bit.



BG “Ben” Thomas

See other authors celebrate community here:

Celebration of Community: Clare London and Sue Brown


Celebration of Community: Ariel Tachna and Nicki Bennett


Celebration of Community: Andrew Grey, BA Tortuga, and Rhys Ford