A MelanieM Review: Deep Plunge (SoulShares #3) by Rory Ni Coileain

Rating: 5 stars out of 5

DeepPlungeCoverFor over two thousand years Lochlann Doran has wandered the continents of Earth, watching as little by little his magic dwindled away to nothing. For Lochlann Doran’s a Fae torn from his war torn world, his soul sundered as he was sent through the Pattern by fellow Loremaster and friend Cuinn to Earth. Now only his faceted aquamarine eyes and the fact that he can’t die remain as reminders of his true nature. Also lost? The ability to heal that goes along with being a Fae of the Demesne of Water.

Stripper Garrett Templar has been dancing along time. The club Purgatory, prior to being bought by Tiernan Guiare, was a hard, indifferent place to work. Garrett turned tricks in the back room to pay his bills and rent, something that would never happen now. But then? The dancers were unprotected by management something Garrett found out the hard way when at eighteen, one of the johns he entertained infected him with HIV. And while it may have been a “manageable” disease” with others, in his system the virus has inexplicably mutated into full-blown AIDS. And no known cocktail has managed to work to slow it down. Now the only place Garrett can find solace is to loose himself as he dances on stage, always alone by necessity and by choice.

Then Lochlann’s travels brings him into Washington, DC and to the very stage in Purgatory where Garrett is dancing.  It only takes a few glances for the SoulShares bond to snap to attention, startling Garrett and freaking out Lochlann deeply.  Lochlann never expected to find his SoulShare after so many centuries alone.  And then he finds out from Garrett that he is dying from AIDS.  Lochlann is devastated.  If he had his magic back, he could heal Garrett immediately.  But his magic is gone.  And Garrett flees from Lochlann, not wanting to hope for a future he is sure they can never have.

But Purgatory has more surprises in store for Lochlann when the SoulShares appear along with his ex friend and now old enemy, Loremaster Cuinn.  It seems their ancient evil, Marfach, has  stirred and wants access to a unSouled Fae to return Marfach to the Realm.  And Lochlann is the key to the  survival of all.

Deep Plunge is the penultimate story in Rory Ni Coileain’s SoulShares series and with it Ni Coileain’s achieves a remarkable bit of storytelling. There is a huge amount of world building going on here.  Two universes, that of the Fae Realm and that of modern urban Washington, DC, are both rendered with equal amounts of realism and imagination.  Then the author builds onto that an epic battle of good and evil (evil being the Marfach) where evil almost conquered all.  It left behind a blackened Fae landscape and a multitude of dead or dying Fae.  To support such a cataclysmic event, Rory Ni Coileain builds a Fae society in dire straits, one that has to re-imagine itself in order to survive.  That aspect of this story is mesmerizing, the history constructed to make all the events that occur in the books not only necessary but manipulated and foretold (yes, two different things are happening here…this layering is magnificent).

Facts about the Fae and the Pattern that we thought we knew from prior events are turned on their head here.  Nothing is as it has seemed.  There are so many elements in play here that you almost have to pause in your reading to make sure you have it all straight, including the latest revelations that have knocked you (and the characters) right on their butts.  I love it when that happens.  Smoke and mirrors, or merely the Fae at work…doesn’t matter because the end result is magical, suspenseful, and downright addictive.

The two protagonists here are unarguably poignant,  deeply damaged characters, each with an emptiness inside where their other souled half should reside (more universe building).  That they have found each other should be cause for celebration.  Instead its marked by pain, and enough angst to fill a bathtub. Ni Coileain pulls off  terrific non-human characters in her Fae.  They do not have the same emotions as humans so that the fact that half their souls end up in humans is not only a neat twist but helps pull all the author’s Fae back down into characters we can empathize with as well as connect with on an elemental basis.  For their human Soulshares it is easy to believe in them and their myriad lifestyles and issues.  All couples from previous stories appear in important roles here as Ni Coileain starts pulling together all the threads she has been sowing in the books so far.  But of them all, Garrett and Lochlann have to be among the most star-crossed.  Garrett who’s HIV became full blown AIDS in almost no time and Lochlann the person who loves him and should be able to cure him but can’t.  It’s both poetic and unbearably painful.

Trust me when I say it almost hurts not to spill all the details that are revealed here, the twists, the turns, the “never saw that coming” revelations.  And Deep Plunge sets all the  elements rolling for the final story in the series, Firestorm.  The final battle between the Marfach against the Fae and humans is almost here.  Who will be able to stop them?  I can’t wait to find out!  Mark this series down as a Must Read and this story as one of the best of the year!  What an adventure Rory Ni Coileain has pulled us into!  A multidimensional saga with characters who continue to astonish and deep loves that have me swooning for more.  Consider the series, the story and the author among ScatteredThoughtsandRogueWords Highly Recommended Reads!

Cover art by Allen Penn.  Does a great job branding the series but missing the fantasy element.

Sales Links:      Ravenous Romance        All Romance eBooks (ARe)     Amazon          Deep Plunge

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 202 pages
Published August 28th 2013 by Ravenous Romance
ASINB00EV7OAYU
edition languageEnglish
seriesSoulShares #3

Books in the SoulShares series in the order they were written and should be read are:

Hard As Stone (SoulShares #1)
Gale Force (Soulshares #2)
Deep Plunge (SoulShares #3)
Firestorm (SoulShares #4)

A MelanieM Review: Summer Son by Anna Martin

Rating: 4 stars out of 5

Summer Son coverIt wasn’t Ellis Broad’s idea to have a child in the first place, it was his husband, Oliver’s. Now 29, Ellis finds himself divorced and the single father of Harrison, his six-month old son.  Turned out that Harrison was Ellis’ biological son not his husband’s and that changed everything.  Now Ellis is raising his son alone, while  working at home full time at his graphic design business.  The only thing keeping him going was his closeknit circle of friends and occasional babysitting from his mother.  Everyone calls it hiding, but Ellis just sees it as his life…a full time dad.

But his friends have other ideas and introduce Ellis to artist Zane Hadlin.  From the first moment they meet, sparks fly.  Ellis feels an ease and companionship with Zane that he never had with Oliver.  And the feelings are reciprocated.  However Zane comes with some serious baggage.   Zane and his older brother got  mixed up with gangs when they were younger and it got his older brother killed.  It also put Zane and his family into hiding, complete with a different last name.  Truly scary stuff for Ellis with a young son to look after.

And Oliver hasn’t completely disappeared from their lives. A chance meeting with Zane, Ellis and Harrison on an outing together starts Oliver poking into Zane’s background in a rush of jealousy. Why? Because it is clear that Ellis has never been this happy.  He has Zane, Harrison and a new outlook on life.  But will Oliver’s interference and Zane’s past conspire to take it all away?

I really enjoyed Summer Son by Anna Martin.  Much like its title, the story runs along slow, warm, unhurried lines.  It’s highlights are a collection of small scenes of domesticity and the deeply moving bond between a father and his son.  Its reminiscent of summer picnics at a park, looking over at all the couples and families spread out on their blankets and tables, watching small intimacies of tenderness and family love.

At the heart of this story is Ellis and Harrison, his six-month old son.  Their moments together are delightful and affectionately real.  Ellis copes with sleep deprived days and nights, working when Harrison is asleep and totally consumed with his son when Harrison is awake.  We are privy to all the details first time parents make note of and all the development progress that parents celebrate.  It’s loving, warm, and rings with authenticity.  It’s probably my favorite aspect of this story.

Ellis Broad comes across as very believable, especially in his role as a loving but stressed out father.  That’s a huge load to carry but Ellis is also shouldering parental duties alone at a stage in his life he never anticipated.  Gone, or so he thinks, are his dreams for a loving husband and the life they talked about together.  Now Ellis is withdrawn and mistrustful of anything that looks like romance and commitment until a young artist walks into his life, making him question his beliefs and decisions.  I really loved Ellis.  In fact its really hard not to, especially when he has Harrison in tow.

Zane Hadlin is interesting in his own right.  Young, gay and of arabic descent, his gang membership was due to a sense of obligation to his brother and mother.  The death of his brother changed everything for him and his family.  Now a talented artist, Zane also works with children with special needs.  Those scenes will really help to connect you with Zane, including the games he plays with Harrison.

The men finds themselves moving into love and a relationship with a certain amount of thoughtfulness and ease.  The drama, when it comes, is gently dealt with, the hurt kept to a reasonable level, and the ending joyful and completely satisfactory.  I know that for some readers the addition of a family or child pushes the romance into the background and its does so here.  If you are strictly looking for a hot “jump your bones” sort of romance, this is probably not the story for you.  But if you enjoy reading about the formation of a family, and loving relationships, then you will find this gentle novel a lovely read and Anna Martin a new author  who’s stories you will look forward to.

Cover Art:  Aaron Anderson.  How could you not love that cover?  It’s wonderful and perfect for this story.

Sales Links:        Dreamspinner Press                 All Romance eBooks             Amazon           Summer Son

Book Details:
book, 200 pages
Published August 1st 2014 by Dreamspinner Press (first published July 31st 2014)
ISBN139781627987295
edition languageEnglish
urlhttp://www.dreamspinnerpress.com

A Quick Stop Tour with Vanessa North and Double Up! (contest)

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Heard about wakeboarding?  Love a hot romance and even better love story?  Combine all three and you have Double Up by Vanessa North.  I loved this book and think you will too.  I even admit to more than my share of giggling over the characters and dialog.  But hear is Vanessa North to tell you a little about herself and Double Up.  And there’s a giveaway for a $15 Riptide Gift Card!  Must be 18 years of age or older to enter.  Now let’s get started!

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Hi everyone! I’m Vanessa North, and I’m touring this week to talk about my new release, Double Up: how it got started, a scene that almost happened, and the sport of wakeboarding–how it influenced me, why I love it so much, and how it shaped the characters in the story.

Contest: Join me on the tour and leave a comment on this post to enter the giveaway for a $15 Riptide Gift Card! Be sure to include your email address in the comment so that I can contact you if you win! I’ll be drawing the winner at the end of the blog tour.

Double Up Book Blurb:

Knowing he’s loved can make any man fly.

Fifteen years ago, Ben Warren was a wakeboarding champion: king of big air, ballsy tricks, and boned grabs. Until a career-ending injury left him broken in ways he still has no hope of fixing. Now he takes his thrills where he can get them, and tries not to let life hurt too much.

Then Davis Fox arrives in Ben’s sporting goods store with a plan to get in touch with his estranged brother by competing in the annual wakeboarding double-up contest. The catch? He’s never ridden before. It’s crazy, but Ben’s a sucker for the guy’s sob story—and for his dimples, too—so he agrees to coach Davis.
Davis is everything Ben isn’t: successful, confident, and in love with life. And he wants Ben to love life—and him—too. But before Ben can embrace a future with Davis, he needs to remember how to hope.

Double Up coverBook Details:

Title:  Double Up by Vanessa North
Publisher:  Riptide Publishing
Cover Artist: L.C. Chase

Sales Link:         Double Up Book Page at Riptide

About the Author

Author of over a dozen novels, novellas, and short stories, Vanessa North delights in giving happy-ever-afters to characters who don’t think they deserve them. Relentless curiosity led her to take up knitting and run a few marathons “just to see if she could.” She started writing for the same reason. Her very patient husband pretends not to notice when her hobbies take over the house. Living and writing in Northwest Georgia, she finds her attempts to keep a quiet home are frequently thwarted by twin boy-children and a very, very large dog.

 

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Connect with Vanessa:
Website: vanessanorth.com
Facebook profile page: facebook.com/AuthorVanessaNorth
Twitter: @VanessaNWrites
Goodreads: goodreads.com/VanessaNorth

Catch Me At RJ Scott’s Bloggers Blog Spotlight Today

 

 

It’s Scattered Thoughts

and Rogue Words Day

at RJ Scott’s!

 

“When we are young, the words are scattered all around us. As they are assembled by experience, so also are we, sentence by sentence, until the story takes shape.” – Louise Erdrich

 

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Good Morning, All!  I’m over at RJ Scott’s website today for her Blogger Blog Tour! I wanted to give a little background information on myself, ScatteredThoughtsandRogueWords, and all things books for those not familiar with this blog, the reviewers, and all the things we get into here, mostly focused on books!  So head on over and check out RJ Scott’s website, her press Love Lane Books, and my blog for today.  You can find her here!

At the time I sent her the information, Barb the Zany Old Lady hadn’t come on board yet as a reviewer.  But be sure to give her a welcome in your comments!

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So welcome to ScatteredThoughtsandRogueWords! Home to some crazy ladies, tons of books reviews, author interviews, and thoughts on writing!  We’re growing and the site will be undergoing changes in slow to middling hops and leaps. If you are love to read and write reviews, consider writing them for us.  We supply the books, you supply the review! Let us know what you think of them….and us of course!  Check out our latest reviews and sign up for our latest contests while you are here.  And speaking of contests…

I am offering up a $25 Amazon gift card to one lucky person who visits my blog and leaves a comment during RJ’s blogger event. Open worldwide (I am sure I can figure out how to get a Amazon UK card to you all overseas). Contest runs until September 19th as here in the States as August is the time when the government is out of session and everyone is on vacation!

 

Here are some of my favorite covers so far this month!  Have you read their reviews?  Don’t leave without checking them out!

City of Monsters

John & Jackie coverDouble Up coverDevil's Own cover

A MelanieM Review: City of Monsters by Andrea Speed

Rating: 4 stars out of 5

City of MonstersHunter Burrows used to be an insurance investigator on Earth.  But something happened 6 months ago and Hunter  ended up a shifter of unknown species who was transported to Nightshade, a literal city of monsters in a near-Earth dimension called Dev. Nightshade is filled with vampires, weres of all types, zombies, reverse tooth fairies, and yes, even Yetis.  Left somewhat amnesiac by the transition between dimensions, Hunter learns that having a job is high priority and becomes a finder for a fee.  Since Hunter doesn’t know what type of shifter he is, he can pass between territories when on a mission.

Still Hunter is depressed about his new status and, apparently permanent, new city.  He spends his time gambling and drinking, taking jobs when necessary to eat and pay the rent.  But all that changes when Hunter runs into a new arrival in Nightshade.  Sakari Karim has just been transported into Nightshade and Hunter fears leaving a “newbie” alone on the streets.  Plus it doesn’t hurt that Sakura is handsome and gay as well.

When Hunter is pressed into looking for the twin brother of a reverse tooth fairy, Sakura comes along to help.  Will Sakari change Hunter’s luck?  Will Hunter and Sakari ever find out what type of weres they are?  Is romance in the cards for Hunter and Sakari?   Take a trip into the city of Nightshade for the answers and a ton of fun too!

I am a fan of Andrea Speed.  From Infected‘s Roan to Josh of the Damned and all manner of creatures in between, Andrea Speed’s inventive and somewhat warped mind continues to create some of the funniest, wildest, and over the top species and worlds around.

In City of Monsters, Speed returns to her Josh of the Damned universe, a place ruled by Medusa, the god who runs this particular universe.  Nightshade the city is full of dark towers, condominiums for the unearthly, the slums of Dog Town where packs of werewolves roam and trash piles up to the ordered and upscale vampire district where vampire run casinos are always open and suckers are not always willing.  All types of beings go about their businesses here, including several that we have meet before in the Josh of the Damned series, like the lizard people, the reverse tooth  fairies and the Yeti.  I couldn’t have been happier to have them back.

Into this maelstrom of the supernatural and unearthly are plopped former human beings who were unlucky enough to have a magical animal attack/encounter on Earth and have been transformed into a type of were or supernatural being.  Upon being bitten or what have you, the unlucky person is transferred to Dev almost immediately, losing most of their memories in the process.  What a shock to the system and that has made Hunter an unhappy boy!  I love that Speed brings this weirdly attractive and out of whack place vividly to life.   Nightshade itself is easily pictured from the clear images her descriptions convey.  There is the classy vampire district that lies next to Dog Town, a smelly place where the werewolves pee constantly marking their territory and the buildings resemble that of a slum.  The intersection of Pierce Avenue and Barker Lane mark the division of territories…of course!  The vampire boss of the casino is  called Macula (duh) whose gang of poseurs calls itself Bloody Monday, a criminal gang called the Lobos that operates out of dog town, and Mustafa, a vegan vampire who faints at the sight of blood and favors Hawaiian shirts, sno cones,  while trying to stay out of everyones way.

In Andrea Speed’s world, no detail is too small to play with, no large element too big to get its own makeover ala Nightshade style.  It’s funny, sometimes priceless and yes, there’s a romance as well.  Hunter is depressed, lonely, and constantly plagued by his possessed blender for fresh fruit to make smoothies. Yep, one of the funniest characters is Blender, a happy, fruit loving blender with a need to please and make delightful concoctions.  A true favorite of mine! Back to Hunter, he is also an out of control gambler who tries to forget his woes at the local vampire casinos, never a good idea.  His occupation?  He finds things, creatures, what ever you want because he can cross territories that others cannot.  We don’t get a lot of back history on Hunter or even Sakari, because we can’t.  The trip in between dimensions robs them of their memories of their past lives for the most part.  So Nightshade really represents a tabula rasa for them.  It will be what they make of it, if they survive that is.

I wish that Hunter and Sakari had more time together to make the burgeoning romance between them more a thing of  sexual heat and attraction than circumstance and availability.  I really liked what I learned of Sakari, including an ongoing need for an adrenaline rush.  Had this story been enlarged a bit to include more of their new life together, that would have made their relationship feel more authentic than it does in places here.  But if the romance comes across a little less substantial, Speed makes up for it with her hysterical and addictive characters.  Terry the reverse tooth fairy missing her twin brother Larry. Wulf the head of the Lobo gang and all are unable to make their cell phones work.  Why?  No one is sure but “they bet Verizon is involved”.

I laughed, I guffawed, and had to keep going back to reread certain paragraphs that I missed because I was giggling too hard to read.  I only wish that Josh and the others had shown up as well.  Then this would have been perfect.  As it is Dev and the city of Nightshade are locations that I can never visit frequently enough.  I leave the stories wanting more of the characters, their wild new lives, and wanting to see all the city inhabitants I haven’t met yet.  I want to know where the Yetis live and the lizard people too.  More I say, much, much more, please!

If you are looking for romance alone, this might not be the story for you.  But if you love to laugh, enjoy clever jokes and a neat turn of phrase , zany storylines, as well as characters you will never forget, then Andrea Speed should be a “go to”  author for you.  Enjoy the insanely delicious bon mots that are tossed here and there, the cultural references obscure and common, and the creativity that flows from start to end.  I loved it and read it twice to get all the bits and pieces I missed the first time around.  For bonus stories, also pick up the Josh of the Damned stories, short reads all but irresistibly hard to put down.

Cover art by Simone.  Loved it, what a fun graphic!

Note:  This title is part of the My Haunted Blender’s Gay Love Affair, and Other Twisted Tales collection. – See more at Riptide Publishing City of Monsters page. 
Sales Links:   Riptide Publishing          All Romance eBooks (ARe)         Amazon             City of Monsters

Andrea Speed’s Josh of the Damned series include:

Josh of the Damned Triple Feature #1
Peek-A-Boo (Josh of the Damned #2)
Josh of the Damned #3.5: Night of the Dust Bunnies
Josh of the Damned Triple Feature #2: The Final Checkout

Book Details:

ebook, 80 pages
Published August 11th 2014 by Riptide Publishing
original titleCity of Monsters
ISBN139781626491786
edition languageEnglish
urlhttp://www.riptidepublishing.com/

Book Blast: Satyr’s Lure by Anya Richards (tour and contest)

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Stopping by on tour is Anya Richards with an excerpt and contest to go along with her release, Satyr’s Lure.  Enter to win an eBook copy of Anya Richard’s novel, Dragon’s Claim.  Enter here or use the Rafflecopter link provided  below.  Must be 18 years of age or older to enter. 

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Book Name: Satyr’s LureBlueLure600x600Banner
Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/22892089-satyr-s-lure?ac=1
Author Name: Anya Richards

Author Bio:

After living a checkered past, and despite an avowed disinterest in domesticity, multi-published erotic romance author Anya Richards settled in Ontario, Canada, with husband, kids, an adorable pup and two cats that plots world domination, one food bowl at a time. Her slightly darker alter-ego, Anya Delvay, emerges occasionally to write erotica.

Interested in all things historical and hysterical, Anya describes herself as intensely curious, (although the word ‘nosy’ has been bandied about) and a life-long people-watcher. Using what she’s discovered about people, places and various weird and wonderful things, Anya has written contemporary, historical and paranormal/fantasy romance novels, novellas and short stories for Samhain Publishing, Ellora’s Cave, Cleis Press and Spice Briefs.

Author Contact:
To find out more, please drop by Anya’s website at http://www.anyarichards.com, follow her on Twitter or like her on Facebook.

Saytr's Lure CoverTitle:  Satyr’s Lure by Anya Richards
Publisher: Self-published

Cover Artist: Lea Barrymire

Sales Links:  Smashwords         All Romance (ARe)             Amazon

Blurb:
Summer in the high mountain pastures, in the shadow of ancient Greece’s Mount Parnassus, is usually Iason’s favorite time of year. A time when he feels happiest, surrounded by nature and free to take a lover from among the other shepherds. But this year he’s chosen his companion poorly and the resulting scars, of both body and soul, have left him questioning his worth.

It is only in the arms of the enigmatic and enthralling stranger Telesphoros, who rescues him from a storm, that Iason begins to heal. Yet the secrets both men hide overshadow the magic of their encounter, and foreshadow the heartache to come.

 

 

 Satyr’s Lure Excerpt:

The tenor of the music changes, seems to call to me once more, and I am bound to heed the summons. Turning my head, I squint to see beyond the fire pit in the center of the small room. Through the heat-haze I see a man seated on the floor, the pipes to his lips. Only his face and upper torso are visible above the leaping flames, but looking at him causes a rush of something wild and hot to flood my veins.

There is the impression of a radiant, powerful face, a nose like the blade of a scythe, high, finely wrought cheekbones and black curls falling to almost impossibly broad shoulders. But those attributes are cast into shadow by the dark, sparkling eyes, deep-set and compelling, which meet my gaze and hold it in an unwavering stare. My heart pauses between one beat and the next, then begins to rush. Looking into those eyes is like falling off a cliff or being swept away by a torrent—completely overwhelming.

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Tour Dates: August 28, 2014

Tour Stops: Parker Williams, Velvet Panic, Prism Book Alliance, Cate Ashwood, Jade Crystal, Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words, MM Good Book Reviews, Fallen Angel Reviews, Carly’s Book Reviews, Andrew Q. Gordon, Amanda C. Stone, For the Love of Bookends, Wicked Wolves and Dreaming Dragons, Up All Night, Read All Day, Love Bytes, Up All Night, Read All Day, Michael Mandrake, It’s Raining Men,

Rafflecopter Code:  An ebook copy of “Dragon’s Claim”.  Use the rafflecopter link to enter and for additional contest details.Must be 18 years of age or older to enter.
a Rafflecopter giveaway  Rafflecopter Prize: Copy of ‘Dragon’s Claim’

VBT: Designs On You by Carrie Pack (contest)

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Author Carrie Pack is here on tour.  She sat down in the Scattered Thoughts Interchair, answered some questions about herself, her latest release and writing. There is also a wonderful contest to enter consisting of several Barnes & Noble gift cards and ebooks of Designs on You.  Make sure you check out the contest prizes and Rafflecopter link at the bottom of the post as well as the book excerpt and author information. Now on to our interview!

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A Carrie Pack Interview: Writing Designs On You

Melanie: What was your inspiration for the story?

Carrie Pack: Designs on You was inspired by my experience working as a production artist and graphic designer right out of college. I worked for a national retailer creating print ads, designing signage, and scanning photos.

It was interesting work, but it could also be tedious; I did a lot of repetitive tasks. And sometimes I would get crazy requests for retouching that meant zooming in on model’s crotches or putting one man’s head on another man’s body.

When I got the idea for a story about a graphic designer falling for a model, I gave him the task of retouching, which is both challenging and monotonous. I really started to think about what it would be like for someone to be stuck in a rut professionally, doing a job very similar to mine, while also being stuck in a rut romantically. How would that play out? Who would that person be?

Melanie:  Do you work on one project at a time or many?

Carrie Pack:  I tend to focus on just one project at a time, and if I have more than one thing I need to complete, I have to take a break between projects to reset. It’s hard for me to switch gears quickly. I need to get in the right mindset to work on something. When it comes to writing, I like to devote entire days to that project. If I try to switch gears and write something else, or in a different style, it’s hard for me to find the right voice for each project.

Melanie:  Hero or Antihero? Who would you chose and why?

Carrie Pack:  Antihero. Every time. I think it’s because antiheroes tend to be more complex, both in their motivations and their actions. It’s moral gray area, which to me, is more human. Heroes usually have very black-and-white decisions to make, but an antihero may do something immoral, yet have reasons behind their actions that complicate the issue. The interesting thing about an antihero is they have the opportunity to become either a hero or a villain, and I’m always intrigued to see how that turns out.

Melanie:  People say write what you know. Do you think that’s right or even important?

Carrie Pack:  I think it is important, to an extent, but it’s not the only thing. Did JK Rowling write what she knew? Yes and no. Obviously she crafted an entirely new world, but Hogwarts is also based on the English education system. Instead of A-levels, they take OWLs and NEWTs. So she added elements of what she knew to her fictionalized world.

I think the most successful fantasy and sci-fi books anchor themselves in reality. That way readers can recognize their own world within the pages of the fantasy realm.

With Designs on You, I used my personal, real-life experiences to shape a fictional world. My hope is that the real-world details help to make Scott and Jamie feel real to them so that they’re along for the ride when the completely fictional events happen.

Melanie:  What is the first book you read that really meant something to you?

Carrie Pack: I have vivid memories of reading the other books in L. Frank Baum’s Oz series and realizing that there was more to the story than Dorothy’s quest to return to Kansas. In particular, I was hooked on The Scarecrow of Oz. I think I checked it out of my school library so many times, the entire card was filled with my name and a series of dates. I loved the idea that a story could continue and evolve after the main quest was over. Perhaps that’s why I enjoyed Wicked so much when it first came out, and I still read fanfiction as an adult. I want more.

Melanie:  What do you find sexy in a man?

Carrie Pack:  A sense of humor. My husband makes me laugh every day, and it keeps things fresh. Physically, though… I truly enjoy a good butt, especially if the man also has really nice legs.

Melanie:  What’s next up for you?

Carrie Pack:  Well, school starts in about a week—I’m a part-time college professor—so I’m sure I’ll be knee-deep in grading before I know it. In my free time, I hope to continue work on a science-fiction story I’ve been tinkering with. It involves time travel, which is something I’ve always wanted to write but have been a bit scared to try. It’s going to be one hell of an adventure for me to write it. But I have a really great idea that I’m excited to flesh out. Stay tuned!

Melanie:  Thanks for the wonderful interview.  For more about Carrie Pack and her latest book, Designs On You, keep reading for book details and an excerpt!

Cover_DesignsOnYouDesigns on You  by Carrie Pack
Publisher:  Interlude Press

Sales Link: Interlude Press Store  Amazon   Barnes & Noble

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

BLURB:

If graphic designer Scott Parker has to design one more cupcake company logo, he might lose it. So when he is tasked with retouching photos for a big fashion client, a stunning, lanky model mesmerizes Scott and occupies his fantasies long after the assignment is finished.

When the model is assigned to one of Scott’s projects, Scott discovers that the object of his desire is nothing like what he imagined. Despite Jamie Donovan’s aloof and dismissive behavior, Scott struggles to forge a friendship with him, all the while trying to keep his attraction at bay.

Will Jamie follow through on signals that he may be interested, or will he forever be the beautiful man in the photograph, an untouchable fantasy?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Excerpt:

The model turns his head to follow Isaac’s gaze. And, of course… it’s Jamie. Scott’s intake of breath is so sharp that he has to cough to cover the sound. Because Jamie Donovan is even more beautiful in person.

Scott stares open-mouthed for a minute.

Jamie purses his lips and raises both his eyebrows when he sees Scott standing there, obviously confused by his presence, or perhaps annoyed at the blatant ogling that Scott is indulging in. He looks down to Isaac, giving him the same questioning look.

“This is Scott Parker, our art director for the day,” Isaac mumbles around the pins between his lips. He flips a strand of hair out of his face, but it immediately falls back to its original position.

Scott steps forward and smiles. “Yvonne’s got the flu,” he says, unable to think of anything else to say.

“I know,” Isaac replies. “She fill you in on the concept?”

Scott nods. He needs to give him Yvonne’s notes and try to get organized for the shoot, but instead, he walks around behind Isaac and takes in the full outfit: skinny-legged grey trousers and a jacket that looks to be a cross between a leather bomber and a straightjacket. It looks amazing on Jamie.

“Hi,” Scott says, extending his hand.

Jamie looks down at it like it might burn him and slowly drags his eyes back up to Scott’s face.

“Charmed,” he says with a lifted eyebrow. His voice isn’t as deep as Scott would have thought, but it has a seductive, raspy quality.

Scott’s eyes follow Jamie as he leans forward to look in the mirror, attempting to fix his already flawless hair. It’s swooped up in an overdramatic pompadour that should look ridiculous, but Scott thinks it looks perfect, and he almost says so before he realizes he’s still holding his hand out and Jamie has completely left him hanging.

Scott slowly withdraws his hand and shoves it unceremoniously into his pocket. “Likewise,” he mumbles under his breath.

Yvonne wasn’t kidding. This kid’s an ice queen. It’s kind of annoying. It’s also kind of hot.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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AUTHOR Bio and Links:

A former graphic artist, Carrie Pack turned to her early career experience as the backdrop for her first novel. She lives in Florida with her husband, where she teaches advertising writing at a local college.

Contest: Carrie will be awarding a $25 Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour, and a $25 Barnes and Noble GC and a print edition of Designs on You (US ONLY) to a randomly drawn host. A free download of an Interlude Press eBook title or an author/book swag pack (US ONLY) will be awarded to one randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter at each stop during the tour.

VBT_DesignsOnYou_CoverBannerMust be 18 years of age or older to enter.  Use the Rafflecopter link provided below for the entry form and additional contest details.

Follow the tour and comment; the more you comment, the better your chances of winning. The tour dates can be found here:

August 18: Books on Silver Wings

August 19: Fire and Ice Book Reviews
August 19: Long and Short Reviews
August 20: Carly’s Book Reviews
August 21: Hearts On Fire Reviews
August 22: Words of Wisdom from The Scarf Princess
August 25: Booklover Sue
August 25: Full Moon Dreaming
August 26: Mia Downing
August 27: Happily Ever After
August 28: ScatteredThoughtsandRogueWords
August 29: It’s Raining Books

http://goddessfishpromotions.blogspot.com/2014/07/virtual-book-tour-designs-on-you-by.html

a Rafflecopter giveaway

A MelanieM Review: Double Up by Vanessa North

Rating: 5 stars out of 5

Double Up coverWakeboarding legend Ben Warren is retired, 40 and feeling every bit his age.  It was 15 years ago that Ben won the Lake Lovelace Doube Up tournament to considerable aclaim and much pain after a wakeboarding accident put him into the hospital.  Now Ben runs a pro shop and teaches other the tricks he used to win contests with.

Architect Davis Fox wants to learn how to wakeboard.  Specifically, he wants to be able to enter the Lake Lovelace Double Up tournament to get close to a half brother he was forbidden to see when he came out to his conservative family. Davis’ half brother just happens to be Ridley Romeo, the hottest thing to hit the water in wake boarding contests country wide.  This is just the ticket to get him closer to Ridley once more but first he needs to find a teacher.

When Davis Fox arrives at Ben’s pro shop asking Ben to teach him how to double up, Ben tries to warn Davis off about the risks inherent in this sport for a newbie but Davis won’t be denied.  Ben accepts the job but finds teaching Davis renewing his passion for the sport and for David himself.  Davis too is falling fast but old issues from Ben’s past reappear, ones he hasn’t told Davis about.  Ben is going to have to learn some hard lessons all over again before he can accept that he has a future not only with Davis, but back in the sport he loves so much.

I just love Double Up so much that I can’t believe this is the first book that I have read by Vanessa North.  I had to go through her  backlist to be sure (and to start marking stories to read) but, indeed, this is the first time this author has come to my attention.  I love it when that happens and now I have a whole new stack of stories to go through.  Life is good!  But back to Double Up.

What made me love this story so?  I think its because Double Up is such a complete package.  For starters, the plot is great.  Wakeboarding is a new sport for me and within the boundaries of the plot, North manages to be both informative and entertaining about wakeboarding, its maneuvers, terminology, and its equipment.  Her descriptions were so clear, especially once Ben jumped into the water, that I could almost feel the muscles strain when the rope between man and boat pulls taut. Using the extreme sport of wakeboarding as a framework for her story is especially appealing.  Retired athletes, their glory days behind them, are a staple as main characters in romances.  But with wakeboarding as the backdrop, it becomes fresh and contemporary.  Ben is a legend but there are very good reasons other than age, as to why his extreme sports days are behind him.  By his side as friend, boss, and occasional hookup, is Eddie, who came so close to stealing this novel away from Ben and Davis.  Flamboyant, smart, and an athlete in his own right, Eddie was an amazing surprise from start to finish.  When secondary characters are this good, then you can figure on the main characters being fully realized, complex people as well.

Davis’ attraction to Ben is immediate, but Davis also knows what he wants in a relationship and it’s not a quick hookup.  Ben has a past that makes him question his ability to have not only a romance but a real relationship with anyone.  How those two disparate individuals come together against a backdrop of sunshine, water, and wakeboarding is a true joy here.  Throw in a younger brother, a bisexual tournament queen, and a transgendered wakerboarder as well and the gifts from this author never stop coming.

I thought the dialog here crackled with humor, warmth, and a good bit of sarcasm.  The characters?  Top notch.  From gorgeous aged athlete Ben Warren to , successful architect Davis Fox to Eddie Russell, Ben’s oldest friend (and scene stealer), each character flew off the page lively, vivid, and totally believable in their human frailties and idiosyncrasies.  There are actually some spew moments here during a phone call between Eddie and Ben.  It was unexpected, the humor deep, knowing, and yet totally real in demonstrating the depth of the friendship between these two men.  Love, love, loved it!

This book was so much fun and still managed to be exciting, romantic with moments of angst and reflection as well.  I highly recommend this story.  Grab it up today and start your visit with this entertaining, wonderful cast of characters.  Plus you get to add a sport for your watching pleasure too, at least I have.

 

Sales Links:   Riptide Publishing        All Romance eBooks (ARe)        Amazon            Double Up

Cover art by L.C. Chase.  It’s perfect.  If you didn’t have a clue what wakeboarding is, this cover would give you an idea (as it did me)

To watch wakeboarding in action, check out this youtube trailer.

Book Details:
ebook, 118 pages
Published August 25th 2014 by Riptide Publishing
ISBN139781626491595
edition languageEnglish
urlhttp://www.riptidepublishing.com/titles/double-up

Mix it Up with B.A. Tortuga’s Deconstructing Channing Book Tour and Contest!

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Today our focus is on a blog favorite, B.A. Tortuga, and her latest shifter release, Deconstructing Channing!  It’s a M/M/F story and typically Tortuga hot!  Enter to win an eBook copy of Deconstructing Channing by using the Rafflecopter link here or at the end of the magnifying glass and bookpost!  Happy Reading all! Don’t forget, you must be 18 years of age or older to enter.

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Book Name: Deconstructing Channing
Author Name: BA Tortuga

Author Bio:
Texan to the bone and an unrepentant Daddy’s Girl, BA Tortuga spends her days with her basset hounds, getting tattooed, texting her sisters, and eating Mexican food. When she’s not doing that, she’s writing. She spends her days off watching rodeo, knitting and surfing porn sites in the name of research. BA’s personal saviors include her wife (still amazing to say that), Julia Talbot, her best friend, Sean Michael, and coffee. Lots of coffee. Really good coffee.

Having written everything from fist-fighting rednecks to hard-core cowboys to werewolves, BA does her damnedest to tell the stories of her heart, which was raised in Northeast Texas, but has gone to the high desert mountains and fallen in love. With books ranging from hard-hitting GLBT romance, to fiery menages, to the most traditional of love stories, BA refuses to be pigeon-holed by anyone but the voices in her head.

Author Contact:

deconstructingchanning_msrTitle:  Deconstructing Channing
Publisher: Ellora’s Cave
Cover Artist: Kelly Martin
Pairing: M/M/F menage

Sales Links:   Ellora’s Cave          Amazon
Blurb:
When they were young together back in their werecat pride, Bowie and Channing experimented with love and sex, as well as flirting with a threesome with their best friend, Emma. Channing and Emma both ran from their needs, leaving Bowie to break away and find his own life. Now a confident master dominant, Bowie discovers Channing again through a video of a consummate sub, one who Bowie knows he needs to find once more.

When Bowie shows up on his doorstep, Channing feels like a teenager again, all confusion and need. He doesn’t date his own kind, only humans, and he’s not in the market for a full time master. Bowie is impossible to deny, a force of nature, and while both men know they’ll have to think about Emma eventually, now is the time to see if they can get to know, and love each other, all over again.

Excerpt:

The trip was designed to give him time. Time to figure out what he was going to say to Channing Lanier when he saw the sorry son of a bitch again.
He could start with “Hey, you rat bastard. Amazing how you came out after you dropped me like a hot rock.” That would be fun. Or maybe, “I thought you weren’t into spanking and bondage, and your precious asshole was sacrosanct, but now you’re a bottom in the underground BDSM scene,” would work better.
Bowie wouldn’t even be going to see said bottoming asshole if it wasn’t for the flyer tucked neatly away in his briefcase.

Tawny Catnip.

Seriously?

Their Emma was a fucking stripper?

A Vegas stripper? The revue was touted as a classy burlesque show and topless nightclub called Catnip Crazy.

Hell, the crazy thing was that both of his ex-lovers had called him a goddamn perv.

Him. Because he’d wanted them both. Because he’d wanted Emma over his lap. Because he’d wanted to see Channing bound and on his knees between the both of them.

Fuckers.

BlueBadgeChanningTour Dates: 8/27/14

Tour Stops: Parker Williams, Cate Ashwood, Inked Rainbow Reads, Andrew Q. Gordon, Prism Book Alliance, LeAnn’s Book Reviews, Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words, Fallen Angel Reviews, Love Bytes, the Twins: Talon ps & Princess so, Iyana Jenna, Tara Lain, Wake Up Your Wild Side, MM Good Book Reviews, Carly’s Book Reviews, The Hat Party, Michael Mandrake

Rafflecopter Code to win an eBook copy of Deconstructing Channing...
a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

On Tour with the Forever Man’s A.J. DeWall! Author Interview and Book Tour Contest.

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A.J. DeWall has stopped by on her Virtual Book Tour for Forever Man today for a wonderful interview.  She also brought along a contest for everyone to enter.  

The author will be awarding a $25 Barnes & Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter (enter here) during the tour, and a $25 Barnes & Noble GC and a print edition of Forever Man (US ONLY) to a randomly drawn host. A free download of an Interlude Press eBook title or an author/book swag pack (US ONLY) will be awarded to one randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter at each stop during the tour.  As usual, you must be 18 years of age or older to enter!

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A Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words Interview with A.J. DeWall…

STRW:  1.  The plot behind Forever Man is incredibly poignant.  Do you personally believe in a love that can last thru the ages, even when parted?

A.J. DeWall:  Absolutely. I am one of those romantics who believes love never dies. Maybe it changes; maybe you find out that you’re better off as friends, or sometime lovers, but it’s always there.

In high school, my great love was tall redheaded boy who wrote me love letters and talked with me for hours about our future, about art, about who we would be become together. We both realized we were gay—he was first, and I fell in love with a woman a few years later. We went off and lived our own lives, staying in touch every few months. Today, I’m happily married to that woman and he is the father of our son. We’re our own, made-up family. That love is still there; it’s just different.

STRW:  2.  I have always loved plots that bring together lovers parted who finally reconnect.  What is it about that idea that resonates with you?

A.J.DeWall:  Me too! I love the idea of getting another chance to make things right, a fresh start. And when two people who love each other have a chance to be together—again, or for the first time, as is the case in Forever Man—they will move heaven and earth to make it happen. I like underdogs, stories about doing the impossible; strength of will, doing whatever it takes. Don’t we all wish we would shine in those make-or-break moments?

STRW:  3.  A favorite question of mine is which came first?  Character or storyline?

 A.J. DeWall:  Character. For me, story comes from character. Whenever I’ve tried to write based on a plot idea, or theme, it takes me forever to write it and I end up with a bunch of useless stuff.

I get a sense of a character when a scene pops into my mind. It’s usually just a few seconds of a scene. Then I have to figure out where in their life story the scene falls, and if I want to tell that part of their story, or another. It’s like getting a glimpse of someone’s life, and then knowing right away I want to get to know them better.

STRW: 4.  Some authors say their characters “talk” to them, so much so it can bump a secondary satellite persona up to main.  Has that ever happened to you?

A.J.DeWall:  I certainly have experienced days when the writing flows effortlessly, and dialog is a joy to write—every time—but I can’t say I hear characters talking to me. Talking to each other in the story, sure. I started out as a playwright, and so I still think of the writing as a series of scenes. I see it, and I hear it, but I’m always aware that I’m creating that world.

STRW:  5.  With contemporary fiction that stretches over time it is important to get the historical aspects accurate.  How much research did you do for your story?

A.J. DeWall:  With respect to time, I did not do any research. Nothing revealed about Ren and Cole’s shared past required research, as most of their memories had to do with the emotion of turning point moments—when they met, when each of them realized their feelings for the other, the various times they chose not to act on their feelings—and less to do with the specific time period in which their memories took place.

STRW:  6.  What comes first?  Title or plot?

A.J. DeWall: Title, usually. Titles have always come easily to me, but starting with title every time is a habit I picked up working as a ghostwriter. Authors tell us the so much when they title a book—what is most important to them about their own story, the point of it, the heart of it.

STRW:  7.  Tragic lovers have been a staple since before Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet.  What new twist do you bring to this storyline?

A.J. DeWall:  I’m not sure it’s a new twist, but the forces that keep them apart are internal. It’s their own doing, those idiots! They let their own assumptions and fears get in the way of going after what they want—each other. They settle. They pine. They move on with their lives—until fate steps in to give them one more chance.

STRW:  8.  Favorite characters?  And if so, who? And in what story?

A.J. DeWall:  I’m a massive fan of ensemble stories with interweaving plots and characters that show up again and again. I’m particularly fond of the Tales of The City series by Armistead Maupin. The final book in that series just came out, and it’s amazing.

Also Louise Erdrich has a number of books with ensemble characters, the most famous and critically acclaimed in that group is Love Medicine. I think I’ve read it four times. It’s one of the few books that I felt I had to read out loud it was just so good.

Thank you so much for asking such thoughtful and interesting questions!

STRW:  And thank you, A.J. DeWall, for the wonderful and fascinating answers.  It’s been delightful.  And now a closer look at  the book and author, Forever Man by A.J. DeWall

Cover_Forever ManForever Man
by A.J. DeWall
Buy Link:   Interlude Press

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

BLURB:

A bond forged in Catholic school, an unspoken attraction that outlasts years of separation and other relationships.

Ren and Cole never acted on that thing that always bubbled beneath the surface of their friendship, not until a chance encounter in a Santa Fe bar and a song that would tip the scales forced them to confront their feelings. Will the influence of a music superstar, a New York socialite and a mystical property manager finally bring them together, or will a history of missed opportunities, their own fears and an impending wedding keep them apart? Can they just have one night, and then walk away?

Forever Man is a story of the consequences of the choices we make, and how the courage to change can last a lifetime.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Excerpt:

Ren turns to see Cole standing not five feet away, a bit out of breath.

“Did you mean it?” Ren asks.

“Yes.”

“You’re in love with me?”

“Yes.”

Ren doubles over again, trying to catch his breath. Cole crosses to him, rubbing his back but saying nothing. After a moment, Ren straightens out and asks, “How long?”

“I want us to be together—”

“No. How long have you been in love with me?”

The answer to this one question is all Ren needs to know. Because this man, this friend, this lover of his has always given in to whims and drama and intensity, and Ren has to be sure that he is not that. He has to be sure that this is not new.

Cole steps into Ren’s space, tilts his chin up and kisses him. The kiss is firm, an answer, a promise.

“I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t in love with you.”

Excerpt Three:

“I was a coward, Ren. And I’m… I’m so very sorry.”

Ren touches Cole’s cheek. “You were an idiot.”

“I was an idiot.”

“I was an idiot, too. I still am, I think.”

“Why do you say that?” Cole asks, his heart in his throat.

“Because this idiot is hopelessly, madly, undeniably in love with you, and has been for a very, very long time… and, aside from admitting to a schoolboy’s crush once up on a time, never did a damn thing about it.”

Cole lets out a breath he didn’t know he was holding. His head drops in relief, falling on to Ren’s thigh, and he’s kissing Ren’s hand—fast kisses, a dozen or more, in gratitude.

“Oh Ren, Ren. Say it again. Say it one thousand times.”

Ren lifts Cole’s head, and just as he did not two hours before, holds his face in his hands. But this time is different. This time he looks down on Cole with shining eyes and says, “You are so in love with me.”

Cole whispers, “Yes, yes, yes.”

“And I am so in love with you.”

“Oh God. Yes.”

Their kiss is long and deep. Cole feels it in every cell in his body: this opening up, this rightness. When it’s too much he pulls away, plasters his face into Ren’s neck until he catches his breath and then dives back in again, taking hold, slipping every secret wish into Ren’s mouth as his tongue lays claim over its contours. He feels like Ren is sucking the truth right out of him, pulling him down, down, down until they are both panting and dazed with the enormity of it all.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

AUTHOR Bio and Links:

A professional writer for more than 20 years, A.J. DeWall began her career as a playwright. She is the ghostwriter behind dozens of nonfiction books, including several award-winning bestsellers. As a writer of fan fiction, her online titles have hundreds of thousands of reads. Forever Man is her first novel. She lives in New York with her wife and son.

VBT_ForeverMan_CoverBannerBook Tour Stops:

August 4: Sharing Links and Wisdom
August 5: Prism Book Alliance
August 6: Words of Wisdom from The Scarf Princess
August 7: Long and Short Reviews
August 7: Behind Closed Doors – Promo
August 8: Romance Novel Giveaways
August 11: Mia Downing
August 11: Booklover Sue
August 12: Carly’s Book Reviews
August 13: ScatteredThoughtsandRogueWords
August 13: Dawn’s Reading Nook
August 14: Erotica For All
August 15: Paranormal Romance and Authors That Rock
August 15: We Love Kink

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