The Weather Is Lovely, The Gardens Are Calling and This Week At Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words


After a wonderful lunch with some of my DC Metro M/M group friends yesterday at The Daily Grill in Bethesda (and getting my first sunburn of the season on my arms), it’s time to concentrate on the yard today before the rains head back in tomorrow. So it’s short and sweet today.


Our schedule this week is as follows:

Hawaiian Trunks coverBloodandGhostsFSEven the Innocent coverjust a bit twisted cover

Sunday, April 19:

  • Weekly Schedule

Monday, April 20:

  • When The Band Came To Town by H. Lewis-Foster Tour and Giveaway
  • Book Spotlight: R.E. Nelson Guest Blogs on Vietnam and Palace Dog (contest)
  • Death by Deceit by A.E/ Via Book tour and giveaway
  • A Stella Review: Even The Innocent by D.W. Marchwell
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: Food for Thought by Amy Lane

Tuesday, April 21:

  • Back to the Past with Charlie Cochrane’s Lessons for Suspicious Minds Tour and contest
  • In Memory of Us by Ana J. Phoenix. Book Blast and giveaway
  • Blood and Ghosts Tour from Shira Anthony – Guest Blog on Time Travel and giveaway
  • A Mika Review: Hoarfrost by Jordan L. Hawk
  • A BJ Review: Burn the Sky by Jaye McKenna

Wednesday, April 22:

  • 2 Author 2 Book Spotlight with Lee Brazil and Havan Fellows (tour and contest)
  • A Mika Review: Breaking the Habit by J. P. Bowie
  • A MelanieM Review: Heart of Clay by Lee Brazil
  • A Stella Review: A Boy Called Cin by Cecil Wilde

Thursday, April 23:

  • Kate Fierro ‘Love Starved‘ Tour and Giveaway
  • Riptide: Down by Ally Blue Tour and Contest
  • A MelanieM review: Hawaiian Trunks by Caraway Carter
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: Max And the Prince by RJ Scott
  • A MelanieM Review: Chance At Trust by Havan Fellows

Friday, April 24:

  • RJ Scott Tour:Guarding Morgan Release in French, Italian and in an Audio book.
  • Vanessa L. Sims: Mercenary Series Tour and  giveaway
  • In the Spotlight:Jordan Hawk’s Hoarfrost Guest Blog and Giveaway
  • A Mika Review:  Scarred Souls by T. T. Kove
  • A BJ Review: Just a Bit Twisted (Straight Guys #1) by Alessandra Hazard

Saturday, April 25:

  • Craving Stains by Alina Popescu Excerpt Tour and Giveaway
  • An Aurora YA Review: And The Children Shall Lead (Children of the Knight #4) by Michael J. Bowler


Max and the PrinceHeart-of-Clay-400x600AJP_in memory of us_coverinChanceatTrust400x600






An Aurora YA Review: There Is No Fear (Children of the Knight, #3) by Michael J. Bowler

Rating: 4 stars out of 5

The most famous boy in the world is a prisoner. He’s been charged with a crime he didn’t commit, a crime that could send him to prison for the rest of his life. Languishing within The Compound, the most secure juvenile facility in California, while the district attorney vows to make an example of him because of his celebrity status, Lance must endure the daily indignities of There is No Fear coverthe incarcerated.

New Camelot is fractured without him. Ricky and Chris are bereft, living for the weekly phone call that becomes their only lifeline to the brother they so desperately love, while Arthur and Jenny feel the loss of their son with a sadness that can’t be quelled. And what about Michael, the highly volatile teen who helped write the proposition that will change California forever? Could he really be the monster he says he is? His hatred of Ricky is palpable, and his instability may well threaten the lives of everyone at New Camelot.

As the election looms closer, Proposition 51 takes on an even greater significance in light of the pending trial of the century. The more harshly fifteen-year-old Lance is treated within the broken justice system, the more he contemplates the wisdom of his idea that children need more adult rights. If The Child Voter Act becomes law, won’t it simply allow adults to throw more kids into prison with impunity?

Whichever way the voters decide, his greatest fear remains the same: will he ever again be with the people he loves?

The Knight Cycle Continues…

This book was really great! Even as the plot gets more complex and things progress within the larger story, the characters stay just as complex and develop throughout the whole book in a way that’s really satisfying to the audience, or at least to this audience member. I had a great time reading it, and I loved the plot. It’s a rare thing to see in young adult books especially, and I loved seeing the whole thing unfold.

As I was reading it, I found myself looking forward to what was going to happen next on every single page and when I reached the end of the book I was really looking forward to being able to read the next one. This was the most exciting, for me, of the first few books. I had a great time reading it and finding out what was going to happen to all the characters and where the plot was leading.  I also couldn’t wait to see where the author would end up going next, since this series has so many original ideas and I’ve really been looking forward to seeing the ideas behind every single book as I’ve been reading them.

Cover art by Reese Dante: I really liked this cover! It’s really beautiful and it definitely drew my attention. It really followed in the theme of the other books and still represented it well, to someone coming to this book even maybe not knowing it’s part of a series would still be drawn to the cover and it would get them to at least pick the book up. It’s very well put together.

Sales Link:  Amazon       Buy It Here

Book Details:

Paperback, 284 pages
Published July 17th 2014 by Michael J Bowler
edition languageEnglish
seriesChildren of the Knight #3, The Knight Cycle #3

Books in the Children of the Knight, The Knight Cycle Series are:

  • Children of the Knight
  • Running Through a Dark Place (Children of the Knight, #2)
  • There Is No Fear (Children of the Knight, #3)
  • And The Children Shall Lead (Children of the Knight, #4)


A Stella Review: Thirty Things by Cate Ashwood

Rating: 5 stars out of 5

Thirty Things coverAll their lives, Finn and Nate have been inseparable, sharing everything, and when a childhood accident left Finn broken, Nate stood by his side as all his other friends left. After all their years together, there’s one secret Finn still hasn’t revealed: he has been in love with Nate since they were eight years old. Hiding his feelings for twenty-one years—terrified of what might happen if Nate ever found out—has been difficult, but losing his best friend would be worse than living with a bad case of unrequited love.

Unfortunately for Finn, Nate doesn’t make it easy.

Nate believes there are some things that just have to be done before your thirtieth birthday. As a gift to Finn, he plans an adventure to check off a list of thirty things to experience before hitting that milestone. Starting in Crawfordsville, Indiana, they tour the country, trying new things and meeting interesting new people. Nate’s having the time of his life, but he can tell Finn is holding something back. As the days count down, navigating the back roads suddenly seems easier than figuring out where their relationship is heading.

One thing’s for certain. There will be no turning back.

Thirty Things by Cate Ashwood was a perfect reading, it caught me from the start. I simply loved it! I don’t have a lot to say about it. Do you ever have that feeling of satisfaction and completeness when you have just finished a book? When you have nothing to complain about, just good feelings? Thirty Things was like that to me. I’m a huge fan of Cate Ashwood works. I love how she writes and in particular Keeping Sweets is one of the first mm books I ever read. It stayed in my heart and I was so happy to found a little (very little) more about Evan and Bran in this book too.

There’s nothing special in this book, and when I say nothing special I mean there’s no drama, no angst, no mystery to solve, but this book is special. It was a joy to read. So peaceful, light, easy, hopeful, entertaining from page one till the end. I can’t find one little reason to give Thirty Things less than five stars.

Nate and Finn are best friends since kindergarten, they live together, Nate is a writer and Finn is an editor. Finn has been in love with Nate for twenty-one years, but Nate is straight. Just when he starts thinking it’s time to put a little space between them and maybe start looking for someone else, Nate treats him with a road trip for his thirtieth birthday, with a list of thirty things to do before he turns thirty. We’ll see them going through scary bungee jumping, spending an amazing night in a tree-houses, watching delusional rodeo shows, but most of all they will discover that the fear of losing a true friendship like the one they have has no real basis. Sometimes being with someone who knows you better than you know yourself is the most beautiful things that can happened in your life.

These two guys have a beautiful friendship. Nate in particular was the only one to stay by Finn side when Finn, only seven years old, had a bad accident that left him with a reduced mobility in the legs.

“I am so proud of you, every day, for doing what you do. I know you’re in pain, and you never show it. You are the strongest person I know, but sometimes strength means accepting help from other people. I have always been, and will always be here to support you. It’s not a sign of weakness to fall on me if you need me. I will always catch you. So let me catch you, Finn.”

I think it’s the first time I read a “friends to lovers” story in which the author decides to approach the switch from friends to lovers in a so easy way. It was a pleasure to read it. We get some glimpse of their life together, some important moments to remember, but the story isn’t made of them, it’s made of present events. Moreover I usually prefer to have an alternate POV between MCs so I can be able to know both of them better. In this book we get just Finn prospective and I didn’t need Nate’s one. It felt complete to me.

Highly recommended!

Cover art by Alexandria Corza. I loved the book and I loved the cover. It gave me the same peaceful feeling and it represents the story perfectly.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press      All Romance (ARe)       Amazon      Buy It Here

Book Details:

Published April 3rd 2015 by Dreamspinner Press
ebook, 210 pages, also available in paperback
ISBN13 9781632169006
Edition language English


Barb, A Zany Old Lady Review – The Silence of the Stars by Kate McMurray ~ Audiobook narrated by Michael Ferraioulo

Rating: 4 stars out of 5audiobook clipart bw

SilenceoftheStars[The]AUDSMEverett Blake is a successful concert violinist who holds a teaching position at Olcott School for talented young musicians in Manhattan and occasionally accepts a short stint with a local symphony since performing is a part of his life he truly loves. He’s recently been cast off by his long term partner, Pierre, a French Chef who landed his own cooking show. A perfectionist, Pierre never failed to let Everett know he wasn’t quite good enough.

Now, four months later, Everett has his own apartment in Manhattan and has hired a local contractor to remodel his kitchen. Sandy Sullivan is the principal contractor for the company in that area and when he arrives on Everett’s doorstep, the mutual attraction is immediately evident.

Sandy is sexy, fun, and an enjoyable companion as Everett discovers over drinks one night. He’s an Army vet who served multiple tours overseas but was injured in Afghanistan when a car bomb exploded and was medically discharged. Unknown to Everett, Sandy suffers from PTSD, the true reason he left the Army. His close friend was killed when that bomb exploded, and though he only suffers occasional flashbacks now, he does still suffer from vivid and frightening nightmares.

When he and Everett eventually have sex, Sandy always finds a reason to leave afterwards, making Everett think that perhaps Sandy isn’t looking for a relationship. Everett, handsome, wealthy and educated, has always chosen to be in a relationship with a man before having sex, and he thought that’s what he and Sandy had started so he’s disappointed each time Sandy goes. When Sandy finally does stay over one night, Everett learns why Sandy always leaves when Everett wakes Sandy in the middles of a nightmare and finds himself thrown to the floor.

Eventually, Sandy decides to seek the help of a psychologist who specializes in PTSD because he’s starting to care for Everett, and he realizes his PTSD and related nightmares are affecting their budding relationship. Sandy’s goal in life has always been to have a large, happy family in a nice home with a wonderful life partner, or husband now that same sex marriage is possible. However, he now believes it’s too late for him, and he faces a struggle to work through his PTSD issues and his thoughts and feelings about his life plans. In the meantime, he and Everett are growing closer and Everett surprises Sandy by standing up for him when they go to meet Everett’s snobby parents. But it’s the little things that Everett does for him, the quiet and strong support he shows in many ways, that eventually helps Sandy more than anything else.

This is a wonderful story about love and relationships, a hurt-comfort story in which both men learn and grow due to being with each other. Everett is not without his own revelations in this story as he re-examines his feelings about love and family and commitment. The narrator, Michael Ferraioulo, does an excellent job in vocalizations of the characters as well as in the overall narration. He has one of those voices that is a pleasure to listen to, and I found that I carried my iPhone around with me all day so that I could listen to this story no matter what I was doing—just like being unable to put down a good book.

Though it is second in a series, there’s no need to read the first one, but I have to admit that now that I’ve met a few characters from that story, I’ll likely go back and read (or listen to) that one too.

Cover by Aaron Anderson depicts a head shot of a man on a solid white background with the title and a music score superimposed over his face. This is a nice way to depict the importance of music in the life of MC Everett while picturing a man who I assume is MC Sandy.

Sales Links:   Dreamspinner Press Audio Book          iTunes   Audible

Book Details:

Narrator Michael Ferraiuolo
Length 7 hours and 0 minutes
Categories:AudiobooksKate McMurrayStars that Tremble and Silence of the Stars by Kate McMurray
Book Type Audiobook
Other Formats: eBook, Paperback

In the Spotlight: Kjartan The Gentle; Tales of Forbidden Love From the Danelaw by Catherine L. Byrne (excerpt and contest)


Kjartan the Gentle Series: Tales of Forbidden Love From the Danelaw #3

Author Catherine L. Byrne

Release Date: February 1, 2015

STRW In The Spotlight Header


Note:  This is the only M/M book of the trilogy and can be read as a standalone.

Goodreads Link
Publisher: eXtasy Books
Cover Artist: Carmen Waters

Sales Links: Amazon US  Amazon UK  eXtasy Books



STRW Author BookSynopsis

916 A.D. East Anglia under the Danelaw.

In Dark Age Britain, you knew your place and if you didn’t keep to it, you faced the consequences…

Hot-blooded Kjartan, accidental hero, has settled down into married life, with a baby on the way. But when he meets handsome glass maker Lini, their unlawful relationship provokes angry and passionate reactions from their kinfolk.

They have to fight back against the prejudice of Norse culture, and find out who their real friends—and enemies—are. And this conflict leads to murder.

But who is the victim, and who the killer?

Pages or Words: 33,541 words

Categories: Bisexual, Historical, M/M Romance, Mystery, Romance

STRW Spotlight Book Excerpt

Lini then went to the kiln and put the glass blowing rod into it, collecting a blob of molten green glass. He wore gloves, but there were old burns on his arms above the glove cuff. He blew into the cloth mouthpiece of the iron rod carefully, and Kjartan gasped as the bubble expanded. Lini spun it round and held a tool to it, shaping it into a symmetrical bowl shape. When finished, he put it into the low-heated oven so it would cool down slowly and not crack. He then repeated the process a few more times.

By this time, Kjartan had completely forgotten what he was talking about and stood just gazing, mesmerised.

“It’s wholly different to fighting in a battle, yes?” Lini smiled and wiped the sweat from his brow with his arm. “Quite calming.”

Kjartan just nodded, staring at the sweat running down Lini’s tanned back.

“So, the fighting school? You got as far as saying what you were going to teach them.”

“Oh. Yes. I’ll think of something.” It was far too hot in the forge and stopped his mind from working properly.

STRW Author Bio and Contacts

Catherine L Byrne amused herself writing as a hobby for some years until she had her daughter, but becoming a mum made her realise she now had a purpose and time was limited, so she must get on with writing seriously.
The winter of 2009 was severe and as she and her family live in a small village, they were house bound by unusually deep snow for southern England. So she settled down in her office (i.e. the corner of her bedroom) and began her first book, which was published in 2010.
She hasn’t stopped writing since, generally on the theme of forbidden or unrequited love, and often including erotic scenes.

Where to find the author:

Facebook Author Page
Other (WordPress blog):

Tour Dates & Stops: April 17, 2015Parker Williams, BFD Book Blog, MM Good Book Reviews, Fangirl Moments and My Two Cents, Inked Rainbow Reads, Bayou Book Junkie, Molly Lolly, Rainbow Gold Reviews, Cate Ashwood, Tara Lain, Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words, Wicked Faerie’s Tales and Reviews, Chris McHart, Because Two Men Are Better Than One, Andrew Q. Gordon, Kimi-Chan, Wake Up Your Wild Side, The Hat Party


STRW Spotlight Contest Header


Contest: Enter to win a Rafflecopter Prize: PDF copy of Kjartan the Gentle. Link and prizes provided by the author and Pride Promotions. Must be 18 years of age or older to enter.

Rafflecopter Code:
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Book Spotlight: Just The Way You Are (Just Life #4) by E E Montgomery

 Just The Way You Are

Just The Way You Are (Just Life #4) by E E Montgomery

STRW In The Spotlight Header
Release Date: April 17, 2015


STRW Author BookSynopsis

After ten years in an abusive relationship and a near-fatal knife wound, Jonathan Watson is finally free. Unused to being able to make even the smallest decision and smothered by family and well-meaning neighbors, he’s floundering in the real world. Jonathan is afraid of falling into another relationship too quickly and realizes he needs time to rediscover who he is before he attaches himself to another man.

He never counted on meeting Ben Urquhart, though. Ben tempts Jonathan to forget everything and take a leap.  For Ben, it’s love at first sight, and he doesn’t want to take it slow. He wants to build a life with Jonathan, free from harm and full of laughter. But before they can take the next step, they must protect Jonathan from his possessive, threatening ex. Jonathan must find the courage to confront him and break the chains of his past before he can be truly free to build a future with Ben.

Pages or Words: 70,000 words

  • Can be read as a standalone, but there are elements in the other stories that will add depth to this one
  • Categories: Contemporary, Fiction, Gay Fiction, M/M Romance, Romance

STRW Spotlight Book Excerpt

Chapter ONE

JONATHAN SHIVERED in the early morning air but not from the chill. He wrapped his arms around himself and groaned as his wound tugged against the movement. He relaxed slowly as the pain eased. From where he stood, he could see between the two apartment blocks to where the sun glinted off the Brisbane River. Five years ago he used to watch the ferries puddle their way up and down the river, dropping passengers here at Hamilton and across the way at Bulimba. He’d missed that view for a long time. He wondered if he’d miss the house now that he was leaving it.

The house was gray—morning gray, Anthony had called it, but it had always looked like unwashed, neglected underwear to him. The lines of the house were precise and symmetrical, unlike the yard. The front lawn bore scars, just like his chest. They were from his Cruiser skidding to a stop the night Anthony had sent him to kill Mark. His eyes burned as he thought how close he’d come to doing what his boyfriend told him to.

At the time, he didn’t think he had any other choice. It was kill or be killed. Literally. By the end of that night, Mark had been the only one left uninjured. Liam’s leg had thankfully healed quickly where Anthony had stabbed him. Anthony was still in hospital with a self-inflicted knife wound to the stomach, and Jonathan…

Jonathan was done with that life. Anthony’s knife in his chest—so close to his heart it was clearly intended to be fatal—had cured him of whatever delusions he’d held onto that let him believe he was in love with the man. Even Anthony’s assertions that Jonathan was responsible for him being in a wheelchair since the car accident two years before wouldn’t get him to stay.

He was out of it now, or at least he would be as soon as the removalists came and took his stuff away. Then he could begin to heal. The first step had been to learn to breathe again after his lung collapsed when Anthony stabbed him. The next step… he didn’t know what the next step after this was. He wasn’t going to admit it to anyone, but he was just as terrified now, starting a life of his own—on his own—as he was when he thought he was going to die.

The trembling began again. Dizzy. Couldn’t catch his breath. He leaned beside the front door and forced himself to bring his mind back to the here and now and looked around again. There was a new section of fence now, and the Cruiser had been repaired and sat at the curb, waiting for him. His cousin must have had the damage repaired while Jonathan was in the hospital—learning how to make his lung work again after his boyfriend had tried to kill him. He shook the thoughts from his head. He had to stop thinking like this or he’d go mad.

Sleep last night had been impossible. The house had been cleaned, but nothing was going to completely remove the blood splattered on the white carpet. His blood.

A low rumble burbled through the air, and a truck turned onto the street. Jonathan’s heart raced. “You can do this,” he whispered, although he wasn’t quite sure which part of “this” he was talking about. It could be dealing with strangers on his own, or it could be leaving Anthony—finally. He pressed the heel of his hand over the dressing on his chest. Staying with Anthony was no longer an option.

The truck stopped and turned to reverse into the driveway. The high-pitched beeping made Jonathan jump and, to calm himself, he focused on the two men sitting in the cab. The driver looked young and blond, the passenger older and shriveled, his hair sticking out in unkempt tangles.

“Two people. Not Anthony. You’re outside, everything’s marked. You don’t need to go inside with them at all if you don’t want to. You can do this.” He counted his breaths in and out. The beeping stopped, the engine cut out, and the driver’s door opened.

Long, well-formed legs slipped from the cab, by-passing the step completely as a muscled body slid to the ground. Khaki cargo shorts bunched enticingly around a spectacular package before settling loosely around slim hips as the man’s boot-clad feet landed on the ground and he stood away from the truck. Jonathan moved his gaze up the body. The worn T-shirt did nothing to hide the trim stomach and prominent pecs and the sleeves framed the rounded deltoids perfectly. Jonathan sighed as he lifted his focus higher to see the man’s wide smile.

Goodreads Link
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: Catt Ford


Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press eBook and Paperback

STRW Author Bio and Contacts

E E Montgomery wants the world to be a better place, with equality and acceptance for all. Her philosophy is: We can’t change the world but we can change our small part of it and, in that way, influence the whole. Writing stories that show people finding their own ‘better place’ is part of E E Montgomery’s own small contribution.

Thankfully, there’s never a shortage of inspiration for stories that show people growing in their acceptance and love of themselves and others. A dedicated people-watcher, E E finds stories everywhere. In a cafe, a cemetery, a book on space exploration or on the news, there’ll be a story of personal growth, love, and unconditional acceptance there somewhere.

Where to find the author:

You can contact E E Montgomery at; on Facebook ; on Twitter: @EEMontgomery1; or at her website and blog.


Tour Dates & Stops:

Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words, Parker Williams, Decadent Delights, Cate Ashwood, Fangirl Moments and My Two Cents, Bayou Book Junkie, Inked Rainbow Reads, BFD Book Blog, Love Bytes, My Fiction Nook, Chris McHart, Elisa – My Reviews and Ramblings, MM Good Book Reviews, Rainbow Gold Reviews, Velvet Panic, TTC Books and More, Charley Descoteaux, 

Wicked Faerie’s Tales and Reviews

STRW Spotlight Contest Header

Contest: Enter to win a Rafflecopter Prize: One copy of the each of the first three books in the series. Must be 18 years of age or older to enter. Link and prizes provided by the author and Pride Promotions.

Rafflecopter Code:
a Rafflecopter giveaway


Just Life Series Includes:

Just His Type (Just Life, #1)
Just Like A Date (Just Life, #2)
Just in Time (Just Life #3)
Just the Way You Are (Just Life, #4)

A MelanieM Review: Diamonds & Dust: Ace of Diamonds One by Laura Harner

(PF 2015: Altered States Book 4)

Rating: 5 stars out of 5

Diamonds & Dust coverAfter the traumatic events that left Jamal ‘Jet’ Gorman’s  the de facto Alpha of his pack, the time has come for Jet to take up the responsibilities and problems of a job he never wanted or thought would be his. There are rumblings of others who would fight him to the death for the position, and others maneuvering behind the scenes to make sure that Jet’s time as Alpha is a short one.  Jet isn’t certain that’s not a fitting way to exit this world…even if it puts the werewolves he’s sworn to protect in the hands of a ruthless killer. A trip to the bayou with the ancient and enigmatic new vampire in town changes everything—in ways Jet would never have predicted. Now his new mission is safeguarding his late partner’s secret.

Nicolino Sanzio da Urbino—Nico to his friends, if he had any—has been undead for centuries, and given the betrayals in his own past, it shouldn’t surprise him the depths some will go to in order to seize a power to which they have no claim. After leaving his position with the Vampire Council behind, Nico’s new job with the Odd Squad provides more flexibility and challenges. It also comes with a lot more latitude when meting out justice, so when he discovers a plot to rid the local pack of their second Alpha in as many months, Nico decides it’s time to go hunting. That is until he meets Jet and everything gets…personal.

With hearts as hard as diamonds, neither man is seeking the odd connection that seems to flow between them—but the winds of change blowing through the Crescent City seem to have everyone on edge—and not all challenges are as simple as they seem. With more and more monsters coming out of the closet, only time will tell if these two survive long enough to play the hand they’ve been dealt—before they become dust in the wind.

I know, I know, I say this with each story, but Diamonds & Dust by Laura Harner may be my favorite. At least until the 2nd books in the next round pop up.  I love Jet and the events that have already occurred at the beginning of this story shocked me!  No way did I see that coming.  And it left me a little heartbroken over Jet’s loss.

Then I met Nico.   Heartbreak gone.

In fact I couldn’t even remember that much about Russ (Russ, right?) because Nico’s first, second, and third impressions are strong, charismatic, and absolutely addicting.  He is everything that Jet (and the reader) needs. And the same holds true for Nico.  Jet is that one being he has been waiting for.  They are each other’s yin to the yang, the magnets that cling instead of repel.   Their push me/pull you meeting and beginnings of a relationship hooked me in throughly. And when that is framed by a storyline full of vicious assaults, deep plotting by everyone around, evil doers on the loose, and tons of hot sex, well, you have the setup for a memorable and yes, haunting series.

Harner’s writing style is concise, her prose tight and expressive, and the storyline is propelled along at break neck speed.  You will want to slow it down to savor certain lines or situations but the cast and plot won’t let you tarry.  It hurls you along until you reach the….argh….cliffhanger.   Yes,  yet another ending that leaves you hanging.  But that’s what serialized stories do best.  Leave you hanging and wanting more.

This Pulp Friction series, PF 2015 Altered States, is “guaraunteeeed” (try saying it in the late Justin Wilson’s voice) to make you a little crazy.  No one is safe, lots of people are going to die (and just maybe come back), with plots that are as hard to tie down as a will o the wisp!  And I love every word and exclamation point of it.  These stories are as addicting and satisfying as a New Orleans beignet!

But don’t take my word for it.  This is the  end of the first round of stories.  Get in on the beginning.  It really doesn’t matter which series you start with.  Diamonds & Dust: Ace of Diamonds One by Laura Harner is a terrific place to start.  Or go back even further to the Altered States series written by Laura Harner and T. A. Webb, that sets out the universe for the characters and events that happen here.  Do that for a wildly scary and fantastic ride into the supernatural and beyond.  One of my highly recommended reads!

Cover art by Laura Harner.  Loving this group of covers, including this one.

Sales Links:     All Romance (ARe)        Amazon          Buy It Here

Book Details:

Published April 1st 2015 by Smashwords Edition (first published March 31st 2015)
ISBN13 9781941841082

About Pulp Friction 2015
Lee Brazil ~ Havan Fellows ~ Parker Williams ~ Laura Harner

The Pulp Friction 2015 Altered States Collection.
Four authors.
Four Series.
Twenty books.
One supernatural finale.

Spend a year with the creatures that go bump in the night…fighting for their rights to exist and protecting the innocents of The Big Easy. A diverse group of friends trying to find their place in a world they never had to “fit” into before.
Although each series can stand alone, we believe reading the books in the order they are released will increase your enjoyment.
Round One:
Drawing Dead (Jack of Spades: 1) by Lee Brazil
Blind Stud (King of Hearts: 1) by Havan Fellows
The Devil’s Bedpost (Four of Clubs: 1) by Parker Williams
Diamonds and Dust (Ace of Diamonds: 1) by Laura Harner

Round Two:

Dead Blind (Jack of Spades: 2) by Lee Brazil

Barb, A Zany Old Lady Review –For a Rainy Afternoon (Tales of the Curious Cookbook) by R.J. Scott

Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5

For A Rainy Afternoon cover

Robbie MacIntyre manages a small post office in the old Station House on the outskirts of sleepy Barton Hartshourn northwest of London. He’s stunned when the owner, Maggie, a close friend, bequeaths him not only the post office, but also Station House.

The rest of her estate is left to an American writer, Jason Young, and when he moves to the village, Robbie is thrown by the attraction he has for the man who has more of a claim on the Station House than he does.

Then there is a box that holds several rare first editions and a cookbook. Only when the secrets of the ingredients in a particular recipe are finally revealed does everything begin to make sense, and a love cut short seventy years earlier is finally discovered.

The first book in the new series, Tales of the Curious Cookbook, this story takes place in England where Robbie MacIntyre manages a small post office-slash-bookstore-slash-coffee-shop-slash-art gallery in the old Station House owned by his good friend Maggie Simmons. He’s been doing this work for about ten years—ever since Maggie offered him the position to help ground him when he was at loose ends after he graduated with a degree in art. He’s devastated when Maggie passes away and even more shocked when he finds out that she’s left the Station House to him.

But more intriguing is the fact that she left her home, Apple Tree Cottage, to an American. Jason Young is the great grandson of Maggie’s sister who immigrated to America after the war. He’s a writer who happens to be gorgeous and in need of help when the water tank at the cottage rusts out and floods the place. Robbie offers him a place to stay and a shoulder to lean on, and the two become friends.

While the cottage is being worked on, they retrieve a box holding several rare first editions of one of Robbie’s favorite mystery writers and an old handwritten cookbook, Recipes for the Heart: Mystical Meals and Dangerous Desserts, by Granny B. The book is organized by sections and marked by emotions. For example, there are recipes for foods that are for sadness, or finding what was lost, or inspiring passion. The one Robbie most likes is for applesauce cake because it was Maggie’s favorite, and he hasn’t been able to match it exactly even though she had given him the recipe. This cake is for finding love. The mystery in this story is what happens when the guys stumble upon information about Maggie’s past which includes a lost love and a separation from her sister and her family. There’s humor and heartache, romance, and adventure to be found. And when the new recipe for applesauce cake, aka the recipe for love, is followed, the boys finally find their way to their HEA.

This is a sweet short story, perfect as the kickoff for the new series. RJ Scott’s style is very evident throughout the story up to and including the building of a wonderfully matched pair of MCs. I recommend this to all who enjoy a bit of a history mystery and a little whimsy with their M/M romance.


Cover Art by Reese Dante depicts two apples propped on a table in front of a propped up open cookbook. Since apples and Apple Tree Cottage feature prominently in this cookbook series, the picture fits the book perfectly.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press    All Romance (ARe)   Amazon      Buy It Here

Book Details:

ebook, 66 pages
Published April 1st 2015 by Dreamspinner Press
original title For a Rainy Afternoon
ISBN13 9781632168603
edition language English
series Tales of the Curious Cookbook

Tales of the Curious Cookbook series:

6 works, 5 primary works.
Five fun and fanciful stories about a rather curious cookbook!

Authors and Their Stories:

RJ Scott – For a Rainy Afternoon (Tales of the Curious Cookbook) by R.J. Scott
Amy Lane – Food for Thought (Tales of the Curious Cookbook) by Amy Lane
Marie Sexton – Lost Along the Way (Tales of the Curious Cookbook) by Marie Sexton
Amber Kell – Cookies for Courting (Tales of the Curious Cookbook) by Amber Kell
Mary Calmes – Just Desserts (Tales of the Curious Cookbook) by Mary Calmes
RJ Scott – Tales of the Curious Cookbook by R.J. Scott

In the Spotlight: Every Inferno by Johanna Parkhurst (interview and contest)


Every Inferno by Johanna Parkhurst
Goodreads Link 

STRW In The Spotlight Header

Release Date: July 24, 2014

We are lucky to have Johanna Parkhurst here today to talk about her newest YA novel, Every Inferno.  After the interview, be sure to check out the book via blurb and gripping excerpt.  Don’t forget to enter the contest at the end as well.

Our Q & A with Johanna Parkhurst…

• What was your inspiration behind the title and story?

Every Inferno started out with a dream I had—a boy was climbing out a window, and there was a fire behind him. The story eventually became much more than a boy escaping from a fire. The window didn’t make the final draft, but lots of other ideas did…including JJ exploring his sexual identity and working through his issues with alcohol.

The title is very much connected to JJ’s investigation into who killed his parents. You’ll have to read the book to find out more about it.

• When did you start reading romance, including YA romance?

I’ve always loved reading romance, whether it’s in the adult or the YA category. I enjoy reading stories about the different ways humans connect to one another, and the romance genre explores those connections so beautifully.

• What drew you to writing in the romance genre?

I don’t think of Every Inferno as a romance, to be honest. I think of it as a coming-of-age story that just happens to have an important relationship built into it. Most of my stories end up revolving around some sort of key relationship—probably because I believe the relationships we have with others are such a big part of what makes us who we are.

• What particular things do you consider romantic?  Gestures that would make you swoon?

You know what I find funny? Whenever I write a YA story with a romantic element, I end up comparing what I thought was romantic when I was a teenager to what I think is romantic now. I was so easy to impress as a teenager! Taking me out to a dinner at the local diner and picking out my favorite desert would have had me swooning. In some ways, I miss the magic of those days. Love was so new and different that every small thing seemed magical.

.  Where do you go for character names?   Professions?

All over the place! The story behind JJ’s name is bizarre. I started him calling the character JJ when I first started writing the book. I wanted him to be called by his initials because I wanted him to have distance from the father he lost, who he’s also named after. But for the longest time, I didn’t actually know what JJ stood for! I couldn’t decide. Eventually I settled on Jacob, which fit with the story and JJ’s character for a variety of reasons. But the poor boy was without a name for quite a while.

• Have you ever had research inspire a story?

I knew JJ would struggle with alcoholism when I first started writing this story, but the research I did into teenage alcoholism had a huge affect on JJ’s storyline and how I wrote that struggle into the plot. The story definitely changed the more I researched.

• What are your biggest influences as a writer?

So many! In the YA genre I’m influenced by Sherman Alexie, Brian Katcher, S.E. Hinton, and many others. Some of my favorite romance writers are T.J. Klune, Marie Sexton, Amy Lane, Nora Roberts, and Johanna Lindsey. I started reading Johanna Lindsey when I was just a teenager, and I always thought it was a good sign that we shared a name.

.  What’s next for Johanna Parkhurst?

I just finished drafting the sequel to my first book Here’s to You, Zeb Pike. That’s been an exciting adventure, as it’s taken me years to finish that draft!



STRW Author BookSynopsis

Depressed. Defiant. Possible alcoholic. These are just a few of the terms used to describe fifteen-year-old Jacob Jasper Jones. Lately, though, JJ has a new one to add to the list: detective. He’s been having strange dreams about the fire that killed his parents ten years ago, and he thinks he finally has the clue to catching the arsonist who destroyed his family. 

A murder investigation isn’t the only thing the dreams trigger for JJ. They also lead to secret meetings with his estranged sister, an unlikely connection with a doctor who lost his daughter in the fire, and a confusing friendship with McKinley, a classmate of JJ’s who seems determined to help him solve the mystery. 

All JJ wants is to shake the problems that have followed him since that fire, and he’s convinced he must catch the arsonist to do it. But as JJ struggles to find the culprit, he sees there’s more than one mystery in his life he needs to solve.
Pages or Words: 180 pages

Categories: Contemporary, Fiction, Gay Fiction, M/M Romance, Mystery, Romance, Young Adult

STRW Spotlight Book Excerpt

Publisher: Harmony Ink Press
Cover Artist: Reese Dante


A smell that wasn’t there before filled the bathroom.

JJ drew in a deep breath, trying to match the scent to anything that might already exist in his short memory. It was a difficult scent to describe: like pine trees, but not the real ones in his backyard. More like the smell of the stuff his father used to clean the kitchen floor.

He tried to push off the sudden sense of apprehension that filled him; who cared if someone else had also come into the restroom? This was his town, the tiny world he had spent his entire five years in, and there was a good chance he knew whoever else had just joined him.

Even if he didn’t know anyone who went around smelling like pine trees.

JJ took a few breaths and flushed the toilet, eager to get back to the movie and his parents.

As he shoved the door of the stall open, though, the scent grew stronger. The person who had brought the scent in with him—a man—was facing the wall across the room. He was wearing a backpack and hugging his arms to his chest.

“I did it… I did it,” the man whispered. “I finally did it.”

JJ moved to the sinks, more eager than ever to return to the comforting gaze of his mother. But the noise of his sneakers against the tile alerted the man to JJ’s presence, and now the stranger was turning around to face him.

It was the oddest sensation to only be able to see certain details of a person: blue jeans, a red long-sleeve shirt. And then a detail so clear it almost seemed to be the only thing JJ could see: the outline of a long and winding paintbrush, tattooed on the man’s hand, snaking down from just below his thumb to where it disappeared beneath the cuff of his shirt.

But nothing else. No other details were there. The man was faceless. The color of hair was… what was it? It was as if it had never been there.

Then JJ could see nothing, and all he could hear was the man shouting. Something about how JJ shouldn’t be there, and he couldn’t know, and it wasn’t time yet….

The pain began then. Horrible, burning, pain, and JJ knew he was screaming, but he couldn’t hear himself over the roaring in his ears. He needed to find the door, the door, where was the door—
Jacob Jasper Jones woke up sweating, twisted into a trap of sheets and blankets. He frantically cast his eyes around the walls of his bedroom, looking for anything that would remind him he was not in that restroom again. There was the Modest Mouse poster, his bookshelf, the old dresser that had once belonged to his aunt—yes, he was safe.

Safe from what? Or who?

JJ quietly wrestled with the covers, thankful that he wasn’t a screamer and didn’t seem to have woken Aunt Maggie up. If it was up to JJ, Maggie would never know that JJ was having dreams about that day again.

They’d started about a month ago. Before then JJ had never dreamed anything specific about the fire. The nightmares were always vague and mushy, filled with flames and noise and not much else.

Not like this dream. This dream was clear and specific and so real it was as though JJ was reenacting every detail from that day. Right up until the end, when the faceless man turned and everything went black.

It was so vivid that JJ was starting to think it might be more than just a dream. That it might be a memory.

Sales Links:

Harmony Ink Press:
Dreamspinner Press:
Barnes and Noble:

STRW Author Bio and Contacts
About Johanna Parkhurst:

Johanna Parkhurst grew up on a small dairy farm in northern Vermont before relocating to the rocky mountains of Colorado. She spends her days helping teenagers learn to read and write and her evenings writing things she hopes they’ll like to read. She strives to share stories of young adults who are as determined, passionate, and complex as the ones she shares classrooms with.

Johanna holds degrees from Albertus Magnus College and Teachers College, Columbia University. She loves traveling, hiking, skiing, watching football, and spending time with her incredibly supportive husband.

Where to find the author:

Twitter: @johannawriteson

STRW Spotlight Contest Header

Enter to win a Rafflecopter Prize: E-copy of ‘Every Inferno’. Must be 18 years of age or older to enter. Link and prizes provided by the author and Pride Promotions.

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On Tour with Sue Brown and In-Decision (excerpt and giveaway)


Title: In-Decision

Series: Left at the Crossroads #2
Author: Sue Brown
Length: 43,000 words/139 Pages
Release Date: April 15, 2015
Blurb: Little Mowbury is a sleepy
English village deep in the Cotswolds. The kind of village where you’re only a
local if your lineage can be traced back to the dinosaurs. Where you can find
everything in the single village shop from morning newspapers to dry-cleaning,
and getting your shoes mended. And, of course, where everybody knows everybody
else’s business. It’s easy to find… you can’t miss it… just ask anyone and
they’ll tell you… “It’s left at the crossroads.”

Eighteen months ago Jason Havers lost the love of
his life and it’s time to move on. Applying for the position of chef in a
sleepy country pub, a million miles away from his previous life, may well be
the fresh start he needs. His new employers immediately take him under their
wing and before long he finds himself with a passel of new friends and a job he
loves. What he doesn’t expect is Tom, a gorgeous midwife, who stirs up feelings
he’s not ready to deal with.

But when someone from his previous life turns up in
Little Mowbury, will Jason be able to keep them from revealing the secret he’s
been keeping from those he’s come to love?
Jason Havers drove down the narrow village street
looking for the Thatcher’s Arms. The farmer’s directions to Little Mowbury had
been clear enough, even if he had mumbled into his beard; turn left at the
crossroads and keep driving.

“But when the hell am I meant to stop?” Jason
muttered. He’d reached Little Mowbury and he still hadn’t found the bloody pub.
He’d left plenty of time to find the place, not wanting to be late for the job
interview, but there had been congestion on the motorway. The stupid satnav had
given up with a mile and a half to go, leaving him cursing at the useless piece
of technology and driving through unmarked country lanes for twenty minutes
until he found a human who could give him directions. Now he had ten minutes to
find the pub before he could kiss the interview goodbye. “It’s on the left,” he
muttered. “On the left.”

Something out of the corner of his right eye
caught his attention and he slammed on the brakes, missing the man who’d
stepped out in front of him by a hair’s breath. The bloke actually had the gall
to glare at him and give him the finger before he disappeared into one of the

His heart
pounding, Jason sat back in the driver’s seat and stared after the arsehole. He
shook his head in disbelief and said sarcastically, “Welcome to Little Mowbury,

A loud honk behind him made Jason jump and he
cursed as he stalled the engine before he finally managed to get the car
started again. Waving his apology to the car behind, he pulled away and there
it was, fifty yards down the road opposite the village green. A typical English
village pub with a thatched roof, wooden tables outside and large hanging
baskets everywhere.

Jason left
the car at the edge of the green and jogged towards the pub. Then he stopped
and squinted at the ridge of the roof, grinning as he spied the thatched duck
perched on the top. He had three minutes before eleven o’clock. Not good but at
least he wasn’t late. He paused in the doorway of the Thatcher’s Arms, his eyes
adjusting to the dark interior after the brightness of the late morning

“Come in, son. You’re making the place look

Still blind from the sun, Jason moved towards the
voice, which he discovered as he drew closer, belonged to an elderly lady who
stood behind the bar.

“What can I get you?” she asked, looking at him
expectantly. Her huge, dangling earrings rattled as she talked. Jason tried not
to focus on them, but better to look at the earrings than her impressive chest
which was really distracting, even for him.

“Uh… I’m Jason.”

She looked at him with a blank expression.

“Jason Havers. I’m here to interview for the
chef’s position. We spoke on the phone?”

Her expression had moved on from blank to puzzled
and Jason’s mind raced as he wondered whether he’d got the wrong day or time,
or even the wrong fucking pub.

Then she
beamed at him as she leaned on the bar. “Sorry, luv, I completely forgot. It’s
been manic here this morning. We’ve only just cleared the breakfast crowd and
we’ve got to get ready for lunch. Colin, he’s my hubby, isn’t feeling too
chipper this morning and Rich, the other chef, has had to go to the dentist.
I’m Maggie Mason.” She shook Jason’s hand. He resisted the desire to wince and
flex his fingers as she let it go. For an elderly woman she had a bloody firm

looked around him. The bar was half-full but he could see the tables hadn’t
been bussed and there were dirty glasses at one end of the bar. “Can I help? I
can give you a hand with the lunch. That is, if you want me to, I mean….”

Maggie nodded and handed him an apron. “If you
want a baptism by fire, you’re on. I’ll interview you as we go. Do you mind
clearing the tables?”


“Leave the
dirty plates at that end of the bar and I’ll take ‘em through to the kitchen.”

Although Jason was a chef by trade, he’d done
most of the jobs required in restaurants and pubs. He started at one end of the
bar and worked down, removing the remains of the breakfasts and cleaning the
tables. As Jason worked he was conscious of the other customers staring and
whispering about him. Maggie grinned at him as he delivered the dirty plates.

“Are the locals giving you a hard time?”

Jason smirked. “They just want to know about the
new boy in town.” He tilted his head at the two old gents sat in the snug.
“Especially them.”

Maggie scowled at them but it was more
affectionate than fierce and the old guys raised their pint glasses in response.
“They’re the worst of the lot. Never tell them your business. It’ll be all
round the village before you’ve had a chance to breathe.

“You’re the one who flaps her mouth, Maggie May.”
An elderly man with an amazing amount of snow-white hair wrapped his arms
around Maggie and tugged him against her.

She huffed
but didn’t try to move away from him. “Jason, this is my husband, Colin. Ignore
everything he says. I’m the one in charge.”

Colin shook Jason’s hand. “Pleased to meet you,
Jason. We just let Maggie think she’s in charge—for a quiet life.”

understand,” Jason assured him then winked at Maggie, who burst out laughing.

“I like him. I think we’ll keep him.”

haven’t tried my cooking yet,” Jason pointed out.

looked at her watch. “You’d better get in the kitchen. Rich did the preparation
before he left.”

Colin frowned at his wife. “I thought he was here
for an interview?”

decided to make it a practical interview. He offered to help clear up.”

son. The kitchen is all yours. I’ll show you round.” As Jason followed Colin he
noticed the man shuffled one of his feet. Colin saw his gaze and shrugged. “I
had a stroke the end of last year. I’m fine now but I still struggle walking
any distance.”

“Is that
why you’re looking for another chef?”

“Rich has
been great. He’s picked up most of the shifts, but he’s found a girl in
Southampton and he wants to spend more time with her. We agreed to split his

Jason frowned. “So the job isn’t full-time?” He
couldn’t afford to work part-time. Not now he was on his own.

“It is, but split over breakfast, lunch and
dinner. You’ll have more than enough to do.” Colin opened the door to the

“Wow.” Jason blinked as he looked at the
stainless steel kitchen. He was hard put not to drool as he gazed around. “This
looks new.”

Colin said. “We replaced it just before my stroke.”

orders, boys.” Maggie handed them to Jason, ignoring Colin’s outstretched hand.
“Three mixed grills and hold the bacon on one of them.”

“Okay then.”

Colin limped to the fridge. “I’ll give you a hand
if you want.”

Jason was about to protest he was fine on his
own, but realised this was part of his interview. “Sounds good to me.”

They worked efficiently together with Colin
holding back as Jason got the hang of the kitchen. Colin nodded in approval as
he plated the order then Jason delivered the food to a family sitting in one
corner of the bar.

He smiled
at them all. “Who wants the no bacon?”

A teenage girl with soft curls and large eyes
smiled shyly at him. “That’s mine.”

The man with her looked at his plate. “This looks
amazing.” His stomach rumbled audibly and he blushed as his wife scolded him.

grinned at them. “That’s what I like to hear. You’re my very first customers.

As he walked past Maggie she handed him more
orders. “It’s Thursday, so it’s liver and bacon day. Don’t forget the extra
gravy for Deano Wells.”

Jason ruffled through the orders. “How will I
know which one is his?”

usually the only one who orders liver and bacon,” Colin said drily.

shrugged. “We look after our customers.”

has her favourites and they get whatever they want,” Colin said as they
retreated to the kitchen. “I just shut up and do as I’m told.”

“Bollocks,” Maggie yelled behind them.

“I’ll make sure to do the same thing.” Jason
deliberately raised his voice and smirked at Colin when Maggie responded with a
loud snort.

“You’ll do just fine here,” Colin said.

really hoped so because he hadn’t got nearly enough of this kitchen. “Tell me
that at the end of the lunch session.”

Jason worked hard for a couple of hours until the
rush died off. He was clearing up the last of the dishes when Maggie came in
and handed him an envelope.

“What’s this?” He opened it to see a few ten
pound notes.

“Your pay for today. You came for an interview,
not to manage the kitchen. The job is yours if you want it.”

He cheered inside, but there were practical
details to sort out. “I’ll need to find somewhere to stay. I couldn’t do this
journey every day.”

Maggie pursed her lips before she said, “There’s
a room upstairs if you want it. We used to run a B&B but after Colin’s
stroke it became too much. There’s a room and a private bathroom.”

Jason hesitated for only a second. Although
Maggie didn’t know it, this was the answer to his prayers. He had the chance to
get away and make a fresh start. Away from David, and away from all the friends
who looked at him as though he was broken. Those that had even bothered to

“When do you want me to start?” He beamed at her
and she grinned back.

“You can start Monday, but Saturday is Cricket
Day for the village. Why don’t you stay Friday night and meet everyone before
you start work?”

Jason opened his mouth to say it was too soon
then closed it again. “Sure. I’ll drive over tomorrow evening, Mrs. Mason.”

Maggie held out her hand. “Welcome to the family,
son. Call me Maggie.”

He dried his hand and shook it. “Thanks, Maggie.
This means a lot to me.”

welcome. Now finish cleaning those dishes.”

April 23: Divine

Sue Brown is owned by
her dog and two children. When she isn’t following their orders, she be found
haunting coffee shops to feed her coffee addiction. She spends hours people-watching
instead of typing. She feeds the plot bunnies, not the word count.

Sue discovered M/M
erotica at the time she woke up to find two men kissing on her favorite
television series. The series was boring; the kissing was not. She may be late
to the party, but she’s made up for it since, writing fan fiction until she was
brave enough to venture out into the world of original fiction

Win a copy of Lisa Worrall’s
‘Un-expected’ and 3 runners up will get to pick any one of Sue Brown’s books!

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