Review: Blown Hard (Whispering Winds #3) (Pulp Friction 2014 #11) by Havan Fellows

Rating: 5 stars out of 5

Blown HardRowen Smithe and Mick Rutger are men that come with their own special brand of complications and impressive set of problems attached to each of them.   Rowen Smithe wears his some complexities and special issues like clothing. But not all.  Rowen’s other problems, like the voice in his head, are more deeply buried and waiting to come out.

Mick Rutger’s sunny disposition and impetuous manner is hiding a past that he hoped he had buried when Mick came to Mountain Shadows.  Rowen Smithe, his neighbor and new love interest, has finally agreed to a dinner cooked by Mick and that is all he has been thinking about.  But the dinner and its aftermath have left a wake of new problems for them both.

While Mick is weighing his next move and Rowen is doing his best to hide, an old enemy arrives at the campground.  The winds of change are blowing strong.  Who will be left standing after the storm has passed?

In Rowen Smithe, Havan Fellows has created a character that continues to surprise me with each new layer of his persona that comes to the surface in the Whispering Winds series.  A cruel and dismissive voice in his head?  Check.  Self appointed guardian of the woods who will use any means at his disposal to keep all safe? Check.  An overwhelming need to hide from all but a few? Check.  Paranoid, competant, intelligent, and gorgeous.  But is he sane?  Hmmm.  Not sure.  He is the gift of a conundrum that keeps on giving.  And boy, does he do that in spades here.  Do I love this character?  Indeed I do.

Havan Fellows has then paired him up with as unlikely a fellow as could be.  I often think of Mick Rutger as a human Golden Retriever.  Affable, good hearted, loyal, and fun to have around, Mick’s impetuous nature can get him into trouble.  Handsome, quick to laugh, too quick to act, and an attention span that….squirrel…..that wanders.  He is almost impossible to dislike even when you are sighing in dismay over something that he has done or said.  And of all things to grab his attention, that would be the dark question mark of Mountain Shadows, Rowen Smithe.  It’s a fascinating, unlikely, and perilous combination that has made this series a compulsive read for me in every way.

For the last two stories, Fellows has kept these two unlikely mates in a fight and flee sort of pattern.  Mostly with Rowen fleeing. Whether it is into his cabin, into the woods or up his tree or all three combined, Mick has had to make the decision to follow when Rowen leads or pursue where Rowen has fled.  It’s been funny, sad, and totally entertaining.  But now a tentative peace has been obtained and Rowen has made the huge commitment to each food someone else has cooked and attend a dinner/date at Mick’s cabin that has been especially prepared for him.  To understand just how big a decision that is for Rowen, you have to read the preceding stories.  That’s how Blown Hard starts off and then quickly turns into something totally unexpected and sort of shocking when yet another dimension of Rowen is revealed to Mick and the reader.  And neither of us was prepared for it.

Fellow’s narrative is concise, taut, and it flows quickly from start to finish, barely pausing for us to gasp at the shocks along the way.  This is the darkest of all the stories to date and the most compelling to read.

This is a story of the perceived cracks in people’s characters that become exposed for the deep and camouflaged crevices they always were.  And it’s not just Rowen’s flaws and elements of his character that are exposed here but some of Mick’s as well.  This story is so well titled because Havan Fellows’s hard winds blow through the plot, scrapping away superficial notions and assumptions you have made about these people (and ones that they have made about each other) to leave something very fundamental and naked exposed at the end.  It will leave you in a state of disbelief and in immediate need for more.

I need more.  Much, much more.  So will you.  This (and the whole Pulp Friction 2014 author series) is a must read.  But please, dont’ start here.  Go running to the first book in the series.  Grab it and prepare yourself for a wonderful rollercoaster ride of emotions, romance and explosive secrets!  I have listed all the stories, all the authors and their interconnected series for 2014 below.  Use it as a check list, don’t miss out on any of them.

Definitely one of ScatteredThoughtsandRogueWords Highly Recommended Stories, and Series of the Year!

Cover art by Laura Harner.  I love these covers and Laura Harner has done a beautiful job of branding not only the series and all the Pulp Friction 2014 Mountain Shadows interconnected series.

Buy Links:        All Romance eBooks (ARe)             Amazon     Blown Hard

Book Details:

ebook, First, 58 pages
Published June 15th 2014 by Appleton Publishing Avenue
ASINB00L02WUR8
edition languageEnglish
seriesPulp Friction 2014 #11, Whispering Winds

The Pulp Friction 2014 series in the order they were written and should be read to understand the characters, events and plot:

Round One:

Firestorm (Fighting Fire: 1)by Laura Harner
Cold Snap (In From the Cold: 1) by Lee Brazil
Blown Away (Whispering Winds: 1) by Havan Fellows
Higher Ground (Earthquake: 1) by TA Webb

Round Two:

Controlled Burn (Fighting Fire #2) by Laura Harner
Cold Comfort (In From the Cold #2) by Lee Brazil
Blown Kisses (Whispering Winds #2) by Havan Fellows
Moving Earth (Earthquake #2) by TA Webb

Round Three:

Backburn (Fighting Fire #3) by Laura Harner
Cold Feet (In From the Cold #3) by Lee Brazil
Blown Hard (Whispering Winds #3) by Havan Fellows
Tremors (Earthquake #3) by T.A. Webb

Round Four: 

Flare-up (Fighting Fire #4) by Laura Harner
Out In The Cold (In From the Cold #4) by Lee Brazil
Blown Chance (Whispering Winds #4) by Havan Fellows
Aftershocks (Earthquake #4) by T.A. Webb

Round Five: to be released

Radiant Burn (Fighting Fire #5) by Laura Harner
Cold Day in Hell (In From the Cold #5) by Lee Brazil
Final Blow (Whispering Winds #5) by Havan Fellows
Terra Firma (Earthquake #5) by T.A. Webb

Sixth Book Series Finale Written by all the Authors
charactersFinn Lorensso

 

 

 

 

Review: The Rusted Sword by R.D. Hero

Rating: 4 stars out of 5

The Rusted Sword coverAfter ten years of marriage, Lord Raleigh’s union to the vicious fighter Prince Moshe has become mired in endless arguments, uncertainty, and finally separate chambers.  A love once hot as the fire is now becoming cold and Raleigh is afraid for their future.  A proud man, Raleigh is now beset by pain from old injuries, unable to wield his swords as he once did, the same swordwork that captured the heart and passions of his husband Moshe.

After yet another argument ruins the moment between them, Raleigh learns that Moshe has accepted an invitation to participate in a winter sword fighting tournament.  It will take place in the castle on order from the king, a ruler overly fond of Moshe from Raleigh’s perspective.  Fearing that Moshe will away rather than return to the small holdings deep in the mountains, Raleigh chooses to accept as well.  Raleigh believes might be his last chance to win back Moshe’s love.  But can a man bound by pride and age find it in himself to win one more battle?  That of the only thing he wants….Moshe’s love.

The Rusted Sword by R.D. Hero is a well written short story that encapsulates the problems of one couple’s marriage.  That the couple is located in a fantasy world of snowbound keeps and a kingdom where swordplay and tournaments go hand in hand doesn’t alter the fact that most couples issues stem from the same problems.  A lack of attention to each other, a shutting down of communication and a walling away of self from your partner.  Those relationship truths exist no matter the genre or couple or even universe.

Raleigh (cousin to the King) was once a heralded swordsman.  He was famous for winning battles and tournements and by his talents, he won the heart of Moshe, a prince sent to the King from another country as hostage/good faith.  A playmate and friend of both the King and Raleigh as children, Raleigh loved him from the start and pursued him relentlessly once they were grown.  It’s been 10 years since Raleigh won Moshe’s heart and they were married and their marriage is now cold , filled with self imposed loneliness and pain.  The author makes us feel every bit of Raleigh’s years.  His aching knee, his age, and his fears that being less than what he once was has cost him Moshe’s love.  That it’s Raleigh’s pride that is also pushing Moshe away is apparent to the reader although not Raleigh himself.  Hero makes us hurt for both men even as we are exasperated by Raleigh’s actions.  It is a poignant picture Hero paints of a union in trouble, realistic in the pained dialog and long awkward silences.

An invitation acts as the impetus for a change in the relationship.  A trip, a tournament and an old friend’s actions brings about a sea change.  How that happens and the world building by Hero are some of the real joys of this short story. I thought everything here was so well done from the characterizations to the plot to the visualizations of the halls and trappings themselves.   While I wish I had a little more of the history between Raleigh and his cousin, it still came across as a  complete story instead of an interlude pulled from a much larger tale.

The Rusted Sword was a first story for me by R. D. Hero but it won’t be the last.  It’s tiny gems like this one that surprise me and makes me seek out more from an author.  That will happen here.  Love fantasy and short stories too?  Grab this one up, its just the thing for you.

Nice cover art, not sure who the artist is.

Buy Links:  Less Than Three Press               All Romance (ARe)    to come                Amazon  to come

Book Details:

ebook, 14,000 words, approx. 31 pages
Expected publication: August 27th 2014 by Less Than Three Press LLC
original titleThe Rusted Sword
ISBN139781620044049
edition languageEnglish

The Week Ahead at ScatteredThoughts!

So Germany won, Argentina lost.  2014 World Cup in Soccer that it.  Marvel Comics is making Thor a women.  And the Millennium Falcon officially got its Historic Tags from the Intergalactic DMV.   Does that about cover it?  So many things going on today.  Sharknado 2: The Second One will be released soon. Can’t wait to hear what Twitterverse will have to say to that.  And the Wil Wheaton Project has become “must see TV” for me.    Yes, there is plenty of other news out there right now far more important, but that’s far too disheartening for me to address at the moment.  So I shall stick to events and announcements that people are passionate about without sobbing buckets of tears over (ok, not you Brazilians, you can sob away).

What’s top on your light hearted list of things to talk about?  The last season of True Blood (ugh).  The return of Teen Wolf (yeay).  What does it for you?  See I’m working myself up to read TJ Klune’s latest release, John & Jackie.  Just the blurb had me blubbering. Plus I still have the third BOATK book in line to read.  Sigh.  I am working my way through Lou Sylvre’s Luki and Sonny series (love it) and Rory Ni Coileain ‘s SoulShare series too. Why have I not heard about these authors before? It also looks to be a Pulp Friction 2014 sort of week here as I am getting caught up in the latest stories in that combined series and now so will you.  Oh, and one of my favorite historical author’s is here with Second Helpings. It’s a light week but still plenty of books for all.

Have a great week.  Let me know what things are making you do a double take or two.  What’s on your calendar to watch or disregard this summer?

 

Winner Announcements:

Winners of RJ Scott’s blog contest are: Cornelia won 1st prize. 2nd Prize winner is Bronwyn Heeley

The Week Ahead in Reviews, Author Interviews and Contests:

Monday, July 21:

  • The Ragged Sword by R. D. Hero
  • Blown Hard by Havan Fellows

Tuesday, July 22:

  • In the Author’s Spotlight:  Mickie B. Ashling and her Forget Me Not Tour/Contest
  • Semper Fae by Angel Martinez

Wednesday, July 23:

  • On Tour with Charlie Cochrane and Second Helping
  • Second Helping by Charlie Cochrane

Thursday, July 24:

  • TB Tour: Picturing Lysander By LM Somerton‏ (contest)
  • Taking Chances by Lee Brazil

Friday, July 25:

  • Tremors by T.A. Webb
  • Flare Up by Laura Harner

Saturday, July 26:

  • Loving Luki Vasquez by Lou Sylvre

 

Review: Strength of the Mate (The Tameness of the Wolf #3) by Kendall McKenna

Rating: 4.5  stars out of 5

Strength of the Mate coverAdam Madison, convoy driver for the military contractor Ares in Iraq, is a good man suffering under a ton of issues.  Younger brother to Major Tim Madison, a officer assigned to werewolf military, Adam has long association of resentment of his brother and poor judgement calls he has made throughout his life. Plus the death of his youngest brother has continued to haunt him. Now assigned to Camp Fallujah, Adam is driving supply trucks for the Marines.  But things are tense at the camp.  The werewolves stationed there lack discipline and the Camp Alpha seems to reward bad behavior instead of controlling and dispelling it with his authority.  It’s affecting morale and their mission.

When Noah sends his Omega, Dawson Rivers, to get the camp and the shifters under control, Dawson finds that Adam helps him understand the conflicts inside and out of the camp.  Their old attraction flares up again as they work closely together to bring order back to Camp Fallujah.  But Adam has had little contact with shifters before and he lacks the necessary information and back history to understand all the issues at stake, including what Dawson’s actions towards him means.

As their relationship strengthens into a bond, the insurgents up their attacks on the Camp and the convoys.  When one such ambush succeeds, the end result is devastating. Only through Dawson and Adam’s bond might their relationship and each other survive.

Strength of the Mate, the third in The Tameness of the Wolf series by Kendall McKenna, brings back a divisive character from the previous stories, Adam Madison, Tim Madison’s younger brother.  In the last story, Strength of the Wolf, Adam’s scenes with his brother were full of anger, jealousy, and pain.  Long estranged from Tim, Adam’s actions were often petulant and explosive.  And while the reader was given part of the back history of Adam’s problems, it didn’t exactly make him a likable character.  Now he gets his own story and the switch in perspective changes everything.

I love Kendall McKenna’s characters.  Steeped in military tradition and settings, they always come across as gritty and real.  Adam is no exception.  He is cool under fire, fueled by adrenaline, and proud of his capabilities.  Adam has grown up in Iraq, and the long distance and his missions have given him a new slant on his brother and their relationship.  But the one thing they do not have in common is Tim’s close association and knowledge of shifters..  Adam works with them at Marine Corps Base Camp Fallujah, Fallujah, Iraq but the Camp Alpha has everything in such turmoil that Adam isn’t sure what and how a were should act.  As seen from Adam’s eyes, the Camp is as dangerous a place as the insurgent controlled outskirts of town.  Weres are fighting other weres, and harassing the human Marines as well.  It’s a horrible situation, one that Adam flees while he drives his truck.

Into this mess strides Dawson Rivers, the True Alpha’s Omega.  Sent to get the camp under control, what happens almost instantaneously is that the attraction between Adam and Dawson reignites as soon as they do.  Having met previously back in the States, working together to restructure the Camp and  out on the convoys, their attraction deepens into first a connection and then a bond.  It’s sexy, complicated and at times, uncertain but the author  always lets the reader know  that these men are intended for each other.

With Kendall McKenna, its hard to separate her men from their locations as it is so much a part of who they are as Marines or in Adam’s case, a military convoy driver.  McKenna’s descriptions are tight, gritty, and authentic in detail and atmosphere.  You can feel the blazing sun and the dust from the desert sands of Camp Fallujah.  The small showers, the cots and mess, they all are so vividly described that scene after scene pulls you down into their experiences and makes it yours.  Going about their duties in camp are a host of human and shifter Marines that play a number of important roles in Strength of the Mate.  Whether it is Corporal Jason Rodriguez, the young shifter who rides guard with Adam in the truck or Private First Class Roger Allen, as well as Lance Corporal Will Borovec, a shifter who gets picked on, you embrace these young Marines the more  you get to know them.  Kendall McKenna has paid as much attention to getting these  secondary characters right as she does to her main ones. Each is a marvelous portrait of a youngster at war. Some are cocky, a little arrogant, some like to kid around, others not so much.  But their actions and reactions to the situations they find themselves are recognizable and it makes them all easy to relate to.  How I love these guys, every single one.

The romance and bonding of Adam and Dawson is the center thread of this tapestry and it runs passionate and bright through all the turmoil at Camp, the insurgents whose actions are increasingly putting the convoys and the Marine’s mission in danger, and all the other elements McKenna has introduced into the plot.  It helps to introduce Adam to more of the shifter history, it gives him a better perspective on Tim and his mate, Jeremy, and it provides a needed solace to his old pain.  I wish we had a little more of Dawson’ s internal thinking and emotions but I loved what the author delivered to us.  Dawson is amazing.  Although, I did find myself wishing that his “violet eyes” had been mentioned a little less throughout the narrative.  That was my only issue here. Had the author cut back on the epithets for Dawson’s eye color, than this would have been a five star story.  As it is, that issue is a minor irritation, nothing more.  And others may find it doesn’t bother them at all.

There is already another story in the works, Strength of the Warrior (The Tameness of the Wolf, #4).  I can’t wait for that to come out.  Kendall McKenna has created an amazing soldier shifter universe here and with each new story, she strengthens and deepens her world building and the incredible characters that are so much a part of this series.  I loved Adam and Dawson.  Their story was alternately, gripping, suspenseful, lusty, and romantic.  Or sometimes all at the same time.  I couldn’t put it down.  Strength of the Mate is one of ScatteredThoughtsandRogueWords Favorites and Most Highly Recommended Stories and Series.

Cover Art by Jared Rackler.  Love this cover, hot, hot, hot!

 

Buy Links:      MLR Press            All Romance (ARe)                Amazon      Strength of the Mate

 

Book Details:

ebook, 356 pages
Published June 20th 2014 by MLR Press (first published June 2014)
original titleStrength of the Mate
edition languageEnglish
seriesThe Tameness of the Wolf #3
charactersAdam Madison, Dawson Rivers, Tim Madison, Lucas Young, Noah Hammond

Books in The Tameness of the Wolf series include in the order they were written and should be read:

Strength of the Pack (The Tameness of the Wolf, #1)
Strength of the Wolf (The Tameness of the Wolf, #2)
Strength of the Mate (The Tameness of the Wolf, #3)
Strength of the Warrior (The Tameness of the Wolf, #4) coming soon at MLR Press.

Book Blast: Diana DeRicci’s Not Quite Broken Book Tour/Contest

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Not Quite Broken New sq bannerOn Tour with

Diana DeRicci’s Not Quite Broken

 

 

Diana DeRicci’s is here today with an excerpt and contest for her new release “Not Quite Broken”.  To enter to win an eBook copy of Not Quite Broken and to read the blurb and excerpt, keep reading!

 

 

 

 

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Book Name: Not Quite Broken
Author Name: Diana DeRicci
Author Bio: Diana DeRicci is the sexy, flirty pen name of Diana Castilleja. A romance author at heart, DeRicci’s writing takes you into a saucier spectrum of sensuality and sexual adventure, where a happily-ever-after is still the key to any story. Diana lives in Central Texas with her husband, one son and a feisty little Chihuahua named Rascal. You can catch the latest news on all of Diana DeRicci’s writing and books on her website. Feel free to drop Diana an email. She’d love to hear from you.

Author Links:

NotQuiteBroken_432Cover Artist: Lex Valentine
Publisher: MLR Press

Sales Links:   MLR Press LLC

“Not Quite Broken” Blurb:

Can Dex survive a nightmare that won’t let go?

Dex’s life has gone into a tailspin. One night that ruined his entire world. He can’t sleep, he can’t eat. He’s lost his job, and is about to lose the last of his sanity. When the world crashes down around him, he’s ready to let the world win.

Dex has friends, though, who are determined to not let him self-combust.

One man will be there to guide him through his nightmare, to hold him to keep the demons at bay, and still let him be strong enough to find the strength to love after his darkest hour.

 

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Excerpt:

Brian tempered his smile at Dex’s miffed tone. There was still a spark of the man he was before the night of his attack. He’d seen it in snatches for a few days when Dex was trying so hard to pretend that night hadn’t happened at all, especially when they were at Chad and Sonny’s. He knew with good insight Dex didn’t want either of them to worry. Then life started to return and invade and the nightmares began. Doctors, police, therapy. He couldn’t outrun them. The stress of it caused nightmares. He didn’t know if any of Dex’s other friends, who seemed to be sparse, were equipped to help him handle the aftermath.

That lack of family or friends in his life was partly why Brian had taken such a personal interest in Dex’s recovery.

He was being devious about it, taking Dex on these little errands, putting him in situations where he couldn’t evade. Brian wasn’t going to allow anyone to hurt him, least of all Dex himself, by hiding.

He opened the glass entryway door and Dex obediently followed.

“Hi, Samantha,” Brian called to the girl behind the counter. He got a wave and smile, though he didn’t slow down to talk.

“It’s loud in here,” Dex complained.

“It’s a gym, not the ballet.”

NQBBadge  RevisedTour Dates: 7/18/14

Tour Stops: Parker Williams, Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words, Cate Ashwood, MM Good Book Reviews, Havan Fellows, Reviews and Ramblings, LeAnn’s Book Reviews, Smoocher’s Voice, Prism Book Alliance, Tara Lain, Love Bytes, Hearts on Fire, Fallen Angel Reviews, Wicked Wolves and Dreaming Dragons, It’s Raining Men,  Because Two Men Are Better Than One

 

Contest:  Rafflecopter Prize: E-book of Not Quite Broken.  Must be 18 years of age or older to enter.  Use the Rafflecopter link below for all the contest details and entry form.  Contest and prizes provided by Pride Promotions and the author.

Rafflecopter Link:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Does Size Matter? Find Out with Sean Michael on his Size Matters Book Tour (contest)

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Prolific author and fan favorite Sean Michael is back with another release…Size Matters!  Sean is talking about a day in his life, the new story and a contest from Totally Bound too!  Don’t miss out on any of it!

Contest:  To celebrate the launch of What’s his Passion? Totally Bound Publishing are giving away a bundle of great prizes. Enter for your chance to win here at Totally Bound! 

A Day in the Life of Sean Michael

So it was suggested that a good blog topic might be a day in the life of Sean Michael. Truly, though, a day in the life of any of my characters would be more interesting. I write, you know? Especially in the summer – I don’t like the weather, so I hibernate indoors, and I write.

Now Trey, he also spends most of his days writing, but he also has his dog, has coffee at Earthscape Java, his local coffeeshop. He talks to his assistant, sometimes hashing out plot points or clearing up details that he just doesn’t know as a blind author. Then he meets Lucien and suddenly his days become very exciting.

Lucien is a people person and his days include a myriad of little things that come with running the gym, although he is very good at delegation and gets to concentrate on what he truly enjoys – being a personal trainer. Oh, and if he can get a few hours of reading in, too, he’s a happy guy. Then he meets Trey and again, things become more exciting and suddenly he’s making uh, interesting purchases to bring to Trey.

I imagine most folks, real or fictional, have routines that they follow day to day, and I and my characters are, for the most part, the same way. It’s when something unusual happens, like meeting the man of your dreams, that days become atypical and exciting.

Sean Michael
smut fixes everything
http://www.seanmichaelwrites.com

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sizematters_800Blurb for Size Matters:

Trey is a natural submissive, but no one wants to take on a blind man. When Trey and Lucien hit it off, it could be the answer to Trey’s prayers.

When Lucien meets his favorite author at a book signing, he’s surprised to discover the man is not only blind, but much younger than he’d expected. He’s even more surprised to discover that Trey shares a passion of his—BDSM.

Trey loves his life as a horror mystery writer, but it is a lonely one. Immediately drawn to Lucien, he’s surprised and intrigued when Lucien ferrets out his interests in certain aspects of BDSM right from the start.

Is Lucien exactly who Trey’s been waiting for, or is it too good to be true?

 

 

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Buy Size Matters here at Totally Bound:

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Author Bio: Often referred to as “Space Cowboy” and “Gangsta of Love” while still striving for the moniker of “Maurice,” Sean Michael spends his days surfing, smutting, organising his immense gourd collection and fantasizing about one day retiring on a small secluded island peopled entirely by horseshoe crabs. While collecting vast amounts of vintage gay pulp novels and mood rings, Sean whiles away the hours between dropping the f-bomb and pursuing the kama sutra by channelling the long lost spirit of John Wayne and singing along with the soundtrack to “Chicago”.

A long-time writer of complicated haiku, currently Sean is attempting to learn the advanced arts of plate spinning and soap carving sex toys.

Barring any of that? He’ll stick with writing his stories, thanks, and rubbing pretty bodies together to see if they spark.

Totally Bound Author link for Sean Michael.     Totally Bound Logo

WHP_Sean Michael_Social Media_final

Book Blast: Down On The Other Street by Jennifer Cie (contest)

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Book Blast: From Jennifer Cie

a collection of stories “Down On The Other Street”

 

 

Book Title: Down On The Other Street
Author Name: Jennifer Cie
Author Bio: Jennifer Cie is a Tennessee native who loves taking aimless road trips, taste testing whiskey and low grade tequila—for science, and writing about social issues in everyday life. Self-proclaimed writer of “two cups of morning coffee” length books, Cie is the author of the fictional work Memphis Rain, creative non-fiction memoir Burn It, and the upcoming collection of short stories entitled Down On The Other Street.

When she is not getting lost driving across state lines, you can find her rambling about book formatting, poor life decisions, and everything in between on her blog: http://www.journeytopaperback.com.

Author Links:
Twitter: @JenniferCie1
Cover Artist: Najla Qambers
Publisher: Self-published

 

 

DownOnTheOtherStreenV1-Brighter.v2Blurb:

Long winded, unemployed, and timid, on the first date Brendan Bloom is already in love. Comfortably arched over his body, Ryan contemplates murder. Cold, necklace gleaming against the pale tint of her collarbone, the passenger could have mercy. Not a little black book, but a faded love letter out from under the sheets. Some romances ignite on sight, others flare at the base of waterless tubs soaked in agitation. Rooted in the South, this collection of short stories delivers five electric confessions of love, sexuality, and identity across time.

Excerpt:

““You’re not asking someone studied—you know? I guess the rough kind of good. Like when you floss your teeth till your gums bleed. Hurts a bit, but the taste and feel are good to you.”

My first “real” talk came from you in 1992. I was fourteen sitting on the edge of my father’s leather recliner watching you cut the edges off a peanut butter sandwich. You didn’t have any tattoos back then. You had on this red sweater with blue stripes swishing through it. That pesky string of acne was still running down your right cheek when you offered me half of the sandwich.

“Anna. Why do you want to know about sex—from me?”

I wanted to tell you that the walls in my house had grown thin. Even with the stretches of screeching cars passing by and gargled whispers from the Mississippi River outside, I could hear everything tiptoeing inside. The high pitched turned guttural shrieks the women in my brother’s magazines evoked. The sound of the calluses on his hands attacking flesh like rubberized sandpaper; then, the wheezing attack followed by a hushed “guuu-ah” and tissues sopping up warm ooze. The late-night lullaby to my summers had changed, and I wanted to know the words.”

–Excerpt from Intellectuals Are Fools

JC600x600BannerGTour Dates/Stops:
7/14: Prism Book Alliance, LeAnn’s Book Reviews
7/15: My Fiction Nook, Iyana Jenna, Love Bytes
7/16: MM Good Book Reviews, Kimi-Chan
7/17: Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words, The Hat Party, Fallen Angel Reviews
7/18: Amanda C. Stone, Michael Mandrake

 

Contest:  Rafflecopter Prize: E-copy when the book comes out.  Must be 18 years of age or older to enter.

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In the Author Spotlight: Chatting with Angel Martinez on Writing, Endangered Fae and Much More! (contest)

spotlight on booksDiego Endangered Fae coverFinn_432(1) coverSemper Fae cover

ScatteredThoughtsandRogueWords Sits Down with

Angel Martinez to chat about  her Endangered Fae series, writing, and 

much more!

 

 

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I fell in love with Angel Martinez and her Endangered Fae series from my first introduction to Finn, the Fae in question, and his lover Diego in Finn (Endangered Fae#1).  A first interview with the author followed, as did the second book, Diego (Endangered Fae #2).  By now I was captured up in the universe Martinez had built for her series and the characters involved.  So  when I heard the third  novel was coming out, I knew that a second interview was needed to learn more about the author and the series as it evolves.

Contest: Angel Martinez has brought along a copy of  Finn (Endangered Fae #1) to give away.  To enter to win an eBook copy of Finn, leave a comment below, along with an email address where you can be contacted.  In addition, STRW is offering up a eBook copy of Semper Fae as a prize as well.  Two Endangered Fae books, two winners! You must be 18 years of age or older to enter.  Contest ends midnight EDT on July 25th.

 

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STRW:  Endangered Fae combines a number of mythologies. Native American, Irish…what prompted that combination and which ones to choose from?

Angel Martinez: Myth and folklore are passions of mine, from when I was very young. Part of that probably stems from the leftover bits of the old ways in my mother’s and grandmother’s kitchen wisdom, (Stir that in one direction! You’ll upset the kitchen spirits!) and partly from a fascination with fairytales that morphed into something more.

The Irish/British Isles mythology stems right from the pooka himself, who is a mostly Irish spirit. In the second book on, Finn’s associations extend to more of the creatures of that myth/folklore region since those would be the people he knew. Later on, the world expands further as we travel further, so we run into creatures of Arabian myth as well.

The Algonquian mythology was also a matter of geography. Finn and Diego travel to Nova Scotia, so what they met there needed to be local as well.

STRW:  The Fae continue to fascinate and they appear in many forms from the elegant “human” type to the alien and frightening “Good folk” in the old tradition. Which appeals to you?

Angel Martinez: I actually like both, and pookas, while they can appear as handsome humans, are more “good folk” than Tolkien elvish. For the purposes of romance, the fae I’ve chosen throughout the series as love interests are ones who are more humanoid and beautiful, but our heroes encounter many different types along the way, some lovely, but some alien and strange.

STRW:  Did or do you have a muse for this series? If so, what was it? Or who?

Angel Martinez:  I don’t often have muses, but Finn insisted on taking the job. He’s more real to me some days than the people in my neighborhood (and often more sensible.) Authors often talk about characters communicating with them or demanding things. It often seems a silly conceit, but Finn’s been beside me, whispering in my ear, for many years now.

STRW:  You write in a number of genres. Do you feel that is important for you as a writer to continue to do so? Do you have a favorite?

Angel Martinez:   I think it’s important for an author to have a recognizable milieu. You pick up Anne Rice, you’re pretty sure what you’re going to get. While I’ve done a couple of short contemporary pieces, I concentrate on Science Fiction and Fantasy because that’s what I love, as a reader and as a writer. I’ve set myself up so that readers (I hope) will see the name and make that instant connection (Oh, yes! She writers SFF.)

Mind you, I’m adamant about the fact that Science Fiction and Fantasy are *not* the same thing. There are distinct differences that shouldn’t be muddied if you want a believable story and when I write, I feel that they use different parts of my brain. SF uses that more rational side of the brain, even when I’m writing SF humor, and Fantasy uses that more fanciful, surreal side of the brain. (SF = plan, build, measure Fantasy = wheeee!)

I do write both adult SF and all ages (under my given name) as well, though I don’t really consider those different genres, just different focuses of story arc.

STRW:   How long have you been writing?

Angel Martinez:  Writers get asked this a lot. Most of us will tell you we’ve been telling stories all our lives, whether we wrote them down or not. I’ve written stories from the time I could write, but didn’t finish my first novel (that will never see the light of day) until the late 1990′s. My first published work was picked up in 2006 and my first gay romance published in 2007. So I’ve been around the block a few times ;)

STRW:. How long does it take you to research a story? Have you ever traveled for your research or folded your experiences into a story?

Angel Martinez:  It depends what I’m trying to do. If the subject matter is something I have a lot of experience with and a lot of source material lying around, research might take a couple of days. If it’s something I’m struggling with, it could take weeks to hammer out the basic points (as in a new interstellar spaceship propulsion method.)

I wish I had the money to travel just for research. That would be lovely. But I do often use places I’ve been in stories: New York, Nova Scotia, Los Angeles, Wilmington. I sometimes do rough sketches of things I see to get the details right later. All of us pick bits and pieces of our experience out of our brains and use them for our stories, whether it’s conscious or not.

STRW:   What’s next in the series?

Angel Martinez:  Semper Fae, the third Endangered Fae book, just released from MLR Press on 7/11/14. That one’s Zack’s story, for all my readers whoSemper Fae cover said the Marine needed his own story. But never fear, Diego and Finn (especially Diego) play a huge part in the plot still.

After that, I’ve just finished No Fae Is An Island, in which we have Diego and Finn traveling farther than ever and getting into just as much trouble as usual, and some new characters, one of whom we’ve met in Semper Fae, get to be the heroes.

Here’s a sneak peek blurb for No Fae Is An Island:

“Three years ago, Danu banished Diego for a time from the human world. Three years and three days doesn’t seem that long to be away from home but time among the wild fae can change a man and the human world returns the favor by changing while he’s away. Human governments haven’t all had humane reactions to magic users. There’s a vampire on Tearmann Island’s security force. A curious selkie’s followed him home. So much to do to keep the world safe…but Diego’s no longer sure he has the right to interfere.

Theo Aguilar started his vampire life on the wrong side of the law. He’s killed and knows how dangerous he can be if he doesn’t stay in control every moment of every day. But the fae took him in and Prince Lugh has given him a position of trust. He owes them more than gratitude, so when Diego and Finn are arrested on a diplomatic mission far from home, he knows his duty. He’s striking out on his own to rescue them, a lone vigilante once again, though this time for the good guys. The only glitch? The selkie, Limpet, can’t seem to understand the alone part.”

STRW: Do you write one story at a time or have several at different stages at one time?

Angel Martinez:  Ideally, I have one at a time. I’m not one of those writers who can switch back and forth from one story to another. But I do, sometimes, start a story and then have to set it aside for another deadline. At one point this year, I had three stories started and had to work on a fourth. We’re now down to one at the edit stage, one started and set aside and one that needs immediate attention.

STRW:   Finally, why do you write?

Angel Martinez:  *tortured, dramatic sob* Because I must! Seriously, though,I enjoy it. It’s what I love best. And if you find something you love, why would you do anything else?

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Thank you, Angel Martinez, for stopping by and sitting in the Author’s Spotlight chair for a moment.  I can’t wait to read the next two stories in the Endangered Fae series.

For those of you new to the series and, perhaps, the author as well, be sure to leave a comment below and be entered to win an eBook copy of Finn (Endangered Fae #1) from Angel Martinez and a second winner will be chosen to win a eBook copy of Semper Fae from ScatteredThoughtsandRogueWords.  Happy Reading!

Stories in the Endangered Fae series are to date:

Finn (Endangered Fae #1)
Diego (Endangered Fae #2)
Semper Fae (Endangered Fae #3) released 7/11 (5 stars review to follow!)
No Fae Is An Island (Endangered Fae #4) to be released

Author Bio:

Angel Martinez currently lives part time in the hectic sprawl of northern Delaware and full time inside her head. She has one husband, one son, two cats, a love of all things beautiful and a terrible addiction to the consumption of both knowledge and chocolate.

Angel’s alter ego writes the all-ages science fiction – Sandra Stixrude.

You can contact//follow Angel Martinez at:

It’s Whistle Stop Time On the Riptide/L.A. Witt Noble Metals Book Tour (contest)

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Welcome to the Riptide Publishing/L. A. Witt blog tour for Noble Metals! Thank you to Scattered Words and Roque Thoughts for hosting me.

Contest: Every comment on this blog tour enters you in a drawing for a choice of two eBooks off my backlist (excluding Noble Metals) and a $10 Riptide Publishing store credit. Entries close at midnight, Eastern Time, on July 19th, and winners will be announced on July 20th. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries.  Must be 18 years of age or older to enter. 

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L.A. Witt is an abnormal M/M romance writer currently living in the glamorous and ultra-futuristic metropolis of Omaha, Nebraska, with her husband, two cats, and a disembodied penguin brain that communicates with her telepathically. In addition to writing smut and disturbing the locals, L.A. is said to be working with the US government to perfect a genetic modification that will allow humans to survive indefinitely on Corn Pops and beef jerky. This is all a cover, though, as her primary leisure activity is hunting down her arch nemesis, erotica author Lauren Gallagher, who is also said to be lurking somewhere in Omaha.

L. A.’s backlist is available on her website, and updates (as well as random thoughts and the odd snarky comment) can be found on her website, blog or on Twitter (@GallagherWitt).

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NOBLE METALS Blurb:
NobleMetals_500x750Ever since Robert Belton gambled away the money to stake his claim in the Klondike gold fields, he’s been stranded in Seattle working as a prostitute. When an attractive customer needs help hauling provisions to the frozen north, Robert eagerly volunteers.
Dr. John Fauth is only searching for one thing, and it isn’t gold. He needs platinum for the prototypes of his revolutionary inventions, and if he doesn’t find it in the Klondike, his university career—and his research—is over.
Getting to the Klondike is a grueling, dangerous journey, and just hours after leaving Seattle, John and Robert find themselves in over their heads. John is carrying an invaluable device that his competitors will do anything to get their hands on. And as the cold nights and mutual desire pull John and Robert closer together, they discover that they have much more to lose than gold or platinum.

(Publisher’s Note: This book was previously published by a different press; it has since been edited extensively and expanded by over 10,000 words.)

Noble Metals is available July 7th from Riptide Publishing. Precious Metals, a novel set in the same steampunk/Klondike Gold Rush world, comes out this fall.

 

NobleMetals_150x300(2)Visit here for all the Noble Metals Tour dates and websites.

Buy here at Riptide Publishing

Book Details:

Author: L.A. Witt
eBook ISBN: 978-1-62649-143-4
eBook release: Jul 14, 2014
eBook Formats: pdf, mobi, html, epub
Print ISBN: 978-1-62649-144-1
Print release: Jul 14, 2014
Word count: 52,500
Page count: 204
Type: Standalone
Cover by: April Lee

This title is part of the Metals universe.
- See more at: http://www.riptidepublishing.com/titles/noble-metals#sthash.ISolyTFN.dpuf

 

Review: Noble Metals by L.A. Witt

Rating: 4.25 stars out of 5

NobleMetals_500x750When  Robert Belton and his brothers left home  to make their fortune in the Klondike gold fields, they never imagined where their gold fever and poor judgement would take them.  Amid betrayals and gambling debts, only Robert is left to survive in Seattle and he does so by becoming a prostitute.  Robert hopes to save enough money to make it over the Chilkoot Trail into the Yukon and join the hunt for gold.

Dr. John Fauth is on sabbatical from his teaching post at the university in Chicago.  Dr. Fauth carries a precious machine with him to Seattle, one he developed and built himself.  With it, John hopes to find the platinum deposits he needs to further his experiments.  But first he needs to hire someone to help him make the journey into the Yukon, for where there is gold, there is also platinum.

When the only room available in Seattle happens to come with an attractive young man attached to it, John hires Robert for the evening and finds more than he expected.  In the morning, he offers Robert a job.  One man cannot haul the equipment needed for mining by himself, so when John offers Robert a job to join him on the trail going north, Robert eagerly accepts.

Even in ordinary conditions, the gold trail into the Yukon and Canada is fraught with dangers.  But John’s machine and the purpose for which it was built is drawing predators of its own.   The long nights, tough journey, and common enemies bring John and Robert together in passion and friendship.  As the danger mounts, both must decide what is more important to them…noble metals or love.

L.A. Witt takes a gripping period in history and gives it a steampunk twist in Noble Metals.  Just the mention of gold rush brings all manner of images and references to mind.  A huge human migration built on greed, adventure, and the hope of a quick fortune to be made saw towns and small cities spring up around the locations near to the mines or close to the heads of the trails into the gold fields.  Those towns quickly filled with  the unfortunate, the desperate, the opportunists, dreamers, the predators that fed on them, and everything in between.  L.A. Witt brings that Seattle to life here in Noble Metals.

Seattle is the center of the mining explosion.  A port bringing in supplies, hardened men and the unwary, people are arriving by boat, horse and carriage and airship if you have the money to afford it.  Yes, airship as in blimp.  For in this universe, its the blimp or zeppelin or airship that is the highest mode of transportation.  Electricity is still largely undiscovered with Edison, Tesla, and Fruth in the race to develop semi conductor technology.  Until that happens, everything mechanical runs on steam.

I love the ingenious twists and inventions that L.A. Witt brought into her Steampunk Gold Rush.  The Golden Staircase, the fifteen hundred steps carved into the ice from Chilkoot’s base to its peak, a treacherous ice stairway that all and their provisions had to climb if they wanted to reach Dawson City and the Yukon.  Vivid descriptions of the biting cold, sliding mechs, and a slow climb upwards in pain, fortitude, and numbness makes this trail feel like the hell it would have been to all those that attempted it.  Right down to the cannibalized structures of abandoned, broken down machinery that littered the landscape around the Golden Staircase, Witt’s scenes immediately bring to mind the litter and dead bodies left on Mt. Everest, making the connection to each climb clear.

Ah, the mechs.  Steam powered, eight legged, mechanical beasts of burden.  What a great contraption for L.A. Witt to invent for her story!  A new fangled piece of equipment used to convey supplies needed by the miners to dig for gold, they are a quixotic wonder.  Here is L.A. Witt’s description of the beasts:

“…mech, a spidery brass machine that would carry the ton or more of gear over the rugged terrain…I watched an empty mech limp past us. The valves on the front-mounted engine coughed little puffs of steam out the top, and the whole thing rattled as one leg landed badly with every step. I couldn’t tell if the leg was bent or if one of its joints was damaged, but something was definitely wrong.”

Amazingly, lives depended on such a strange walking machine.  And the fight to get it to function and walk properly is as nearly entertaining and fraught with peril as is the rest of Robert and John’s journey.  I really loved those mechs and could picture them quite clearly in my mind as I read.

Then there is the romance between Robert and John.  It found them endearing and their relationship moving.  While unequal in social status, John recognizes a kindred mind in Robert’s.  John values Robert’s intelligence and honesty as much as Robert’s good looks.  They bond over books, and the cold solitude of their tent along the trail on the slow journey to Dawson City.  Nary a case of instant love in sight, I loved how slowly their feelings for each other grew. Not only do they question their feelings for each other but what future, if any, was possible for them.  Great job by the author on making this element feel as real as the situation they find themselves in.

The story is told from Robert’s point of view but John’s side of the story is inserted here as well via journal entries in the diary John is keeping.  I loved seeing Robert and the trail from John’s perspective.  It also widened our view of the universe the author created by getting glimpses of John’s life in Chicago and the world in general.

My only wish was that the journey had gone further and the story continued on longer.  I’ll say no more.  But the world that L.A. Witt build with its tent city at the border, filled with miners, mechs and run efficiently by the North West Mounties (instead of the Royal Canadian Mounties today), along with the rough and tough city of Seattle made me want more of the stories of the people passing through and what if any fortunes they found along the way.

I love Nobel Metals and highly recommend it to all lovers of steampunk, m/m romance and adventure.

Cover art by April Lee.  Love this cover, perfection in every way and one of the best of the year.

Buy Links for Noble Metals:               Riptide Publishing                     ARe (All Romance)                Amazon      Noble Metals

 

Bool Details:

ebook, 1st Edtion
Published January 2nd 2012 by Carnal Passions
ISBN139781926996752
edition languageEnglish
urlhttp://www.loriawitt.com/Books_by_L.html#nobleanchor

Publisher’s Note: This book was previously published by a different press; it has since been edited extensively and expanded by over 10,000 words.)

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