An Alisa Review: No Rulebook for Flirting by Laura Bailo


Rating:  4 stars out of 5

When Gabriel goes to the annual gaming convention, planning to play as many games as he can during the next three days, he doesn’t expect to be glared to death in the parking lot by a really cute guy. So when the same guy joins the game Gabriel is playing, Gabriel is determined to make him smile, even if it takes some awkward flirting.

When Aitor makes it inside the convention center after someone steals his parking spot, he doesn’t expect to be so attracted to the man he decided to hate just a few minutes earlier. But as he gets to know Gabriel through gaming and flirting, he just can’t look away.

The game of flirting has no rulebook, but for Gabriel and Aitor, it may just have two winners after all.

This was an adorable story.  Gabriel ends up inadvertently taking Aitor’s parking space at the gaming convention and they quickly end up at the same table.  They flirt over the games and let it overflow outside the convention center.

Gabriel and Aitor both seem mostly reserved and their awkward flirting is cute.  I loved watching their interactions and how both of the characters acted with each other.  I felt so bad for Gabriel, I don’t quite know why but he had pretty much decided that he would be off the market forever since no one could want him and pretty much gives up any of his free time to be with family.  We didn’t get to see any of the story from Aitor’s point of view but were able to learn a little bit about him.   I loved seeing these two the next year at the end of the story.

I love the cover art by Written Ink Designs and I think it’s perfect for the story.

Sales Links: JMS Books | Amazon | B&N

Book Details:

ebook, 48 pages

Published: February 10, 2018 by JMS Books

ISBN: 9781634865753

Edition Language: English

J.M. Dabney On Creating a New Character and Series: Livingston (Trenton Security #1) by J.M. Dabney (Release Day Blog)







RELEASE DATE: 03.06.18


Cover Design:   RESSE DANTE




Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to have J.M Dabney here today talking about  her latest novel and new series,Livingston (Trenton Security #1).  Welcome, J.M., and thanks for answering a few questions for us.

How did the Security Agency form? What has you as an author, most excited, about this next series?

First let me thank Melanie and Scattered Thoughts for hosting me on their blog today.

How the security agency formed was odd. It came mostly into play during the Executioners series. The Executioners were to be the last of the spin-offs. I believed the Crews had run their course on the voices I could come up with. Then Ghost and Harper’s book happened. Those soft whispers of voices at the back of an author’s brain are dangerous stuff.

Of course, Livingston solidly formed first. I’ve written scarred characters, mostly from suicide attempts or self-harm, severe abuse. I hadn’t laid out the full groundwork for who Livingston was and then his horrific past and what or more importantly who caused the scars became clear.

And like always, Little, Gage, and Pure along with Linus and Hunter, the Trenton Security Agency was born.

I wanted something different for the Trenton Security Series. As with every series they need to have their own feel and tone. I’m most excited about the new series for the action and suspense themes which come into play. As always there’s a lot of group interaction—families formed by choice not blood. The darker themes that will run through the series are challenging and possibly hard for readers, but I believe if I don’t cause some emotional response I haven’t done my job as a writer.

My only hope is my readers will embrace the Trenton Security Team the way they did the rest of my crews. I sincerely work hard to make sure that I give my readers something different and I hope I do that.

Thank you once again for having me today.


He was the Beast without the escape clause.

Francis “Liv” Livingston was a beast. No matter if he wore a perfectly tailored suit or if he was in his tactical gear, people avoided looking at him. He was always first to volunteer for the jobs only a person with a death wish wanted. Tomorrows weren’t guaranteed. His boss had come to him and told him he needed him for a job. Linus knew the jobs he liked, but when he opened the file, it all went to hell.

Beauty was only skin deep.

Fielding Haskell made his way in the world on his looks. He’d earned his first film role before he could read a script. He didn’t want the fame. He wanted to go to college. He wanted a man who didn’t look at him and see how pretty he was. Unfortunately, a so-called fan only cared how attractive he was, and it earned him a personal bodyguard and a vacation. He looked forward to the break until he met the man in charge of his safety and wondered if the danger he left was worth dealing with a sudden attraction to a man who was colder than ice.




He disconnected the call and slipped his phone back into his pocket. “That for me?”

“Yes, sir, I didn’t mean—” Fielding swallowed hard. “I wasn’t listening.”

The boy closed the distance between them quickly and thrust the mug at him. He caught it before it made a trip to the ground.

“Black. I noticed you didn’t, um, put anything in your coffee. Is it strong enough?”

He hesitated with the mug at his lips. He swore the boy was holding his breath waiting for his approval. Taking a sip, it was perfect, but he took his time to see how long Fielding would keep himself from breathing. Nothing much amused him anymore, but that was doing it for him.

During the time the boy was in his home he’d picked up on little things about him. Fielding’s need for approval. The boy’s natural submissiveness. Fielding was also downright domestic.

“Not bad.”

“I’ll do better. Are you going somewhere?”

“No, not for a few more days. We’ll head to the office for a check-in, and see what Linus’ boy, Hunter, found out about your stalker.” Interesting, the stalker comment hadn’t earned a flinch, but the moment he said boy, the kid’s perfectly arched brows rose. “Make a list of anything you need. We’ll hit the store before we come back.”

“Can I get candy and chips?”

The question took him by surprise. Fielding didn’t look like anything fattening ever passed his pretty lips.

“Do you want candy and chips?”

“So much.”

He hid his smile behind his mug at the boy’s longing sigh. He’d noticed the boy didn’t eat very much, not enough in his opinion, but Fielding wasn’t big. Tiny compared to him, probably not for normal sized men.

“We’ll see then.”

“Yes, sir.”

One more submissive little yes, sir with averted eyes and the boy was going to find himself on his knees worshiping his cock. He was too old for the boy, but his dick didn’t seem to have a problem with it. What made it harder to resist Fielding was a natural submissive born to be someone’s boy. He was inclined to dominate and to have the perfect boy in front of him was more temptation than he’d ever experienced.

He needed to get Fielding as far away from him as possible and soon.

 JM Dabney Logo

J.M. Dabney is a multi-genre author who writes mainly LGBT romance and fiction. She lives with a constant diverse cast of characters in her head. No matter their size, shape, race, etc. she lives for one purpose alone, and that’s to make sure she does them justice and give them the happily ever after they deserve. J.M. is dysfunction at its finest and she makes sure her characters are a beautiful kaleidoscope of crazy. There is nothing more she wants from telling her stories than to show that no matter the package the characters come in or the damage their pasts have done, that love is love. That normal is never normal and sometimes the so-called broken can still be amazing.

Amazon Author Page

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Sarah Black on Screwing Up, Moving On and her new release ‘American Road Trip’ (guest blog)


American Road Trip by Sarah Black
Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: Tiferet Design

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | Amazon

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to have Sarah Black talking about her latest release, which we highly recommend, American Road Trip.  Welcome, Sarah.


After You Fall on Your Face

Sarah Black

When you fall on your face, drive off a cliff, stand clueless holding a bomb while it ticks down, like Wile E Coyote while Roadrunner speeds safely away- how do you recover from the massive and irretrievable disasters that strike your life?

Hey, this part is easy. We stagger back to our bloody hands and knees and start down the road to recovery, step by brutally painful step. You know what the worst part of the whole deal is? Deciding it was all your fault. And being right. Because when the screw-up is your fault, there is no place to put your pissed-off except squarely between your own two eyes. 

It’s so much easier, isn’t it, when someone else screws up? Then we can sit on top of our high horses and explain to them exactly where they went wrong, and what they should have done. But when we are the culprits in our own lives, all we can do is slink off in shame, muttering, ‘what the fuck is wrong with you?’ over and over again. Not really helpful, but it is a classic.

Some people, and I have to include myself in this group, have become experts in studying personal screw-ups. I remember when I was a kid, thinking that adulthood was when people knew what to do in most situations and stopped messing up all the time. Apparently for some of us, adulthood never comes!

But that isn’t really the point. We know we screw up. Everyone does. The real question for me is how do we deal with it, how do we move on, how do we learn to forgive ourselves? That’s what I was interested in, and why I wanted to write this story. I don’t know if other writers have this experience, but I don’t always know or understand how my characters are going to react. If I ignore things like what the market says, or what the genre says I need, then characters start doing things that I only half-understand, but that strike me as genuine and real. Maybe later it will come to me that this motivation or that issue was behind a character’s actions.

My point of view character, James Lee Hooker, started growing his hair long after the Army, and he used his grandmother’s hairbrush and braided his hair over his shoulder, like she had done. It was a small gesture, but it was something he would do—to feel closer to her, like an unconscious memorial. He did all sorts of small things like this when I was getting to know him. But the bigger issue for me and for him, as a character, was how he was going to punish himself for screwing up. Because he did screw up, a number of times.

I kept trying to make him more heroic, stronger. I didn’t want him to appear in a bad light. I was trying to save him from the consequences of his screw-up. He just sat and stared at me, wouldn’t open his mouth. Wouldn’t move. I finally gave it up and gave him his head. When I decided I wasn’t going to try and write him as a good guy, a hero, strong and brave, then he suddenly became more real to me, and more interesting. And his actions became believable.

I think mostly when we screw up, we try to punish ourselves. And we can usually devise tortures that are particularly brutal and painful, because they are so on-target. We embrace our self-punishments, because we deserve them and they define us. The really tough thing, I’m starting to think, is learning when to say that it’s time to move on. That we’ve punished ourselves enough, and it’s time to move on and enter the world again. Go out into the world again, where our next screw up is waiting. Or maybe not! 

Here’s a scene from American Road Trip:

“I’m sorry I didn’t come and find you. Austin too. I’d done something I couldn’t take back. Just that one moment, you know? I couldn’t live it over again. And once it was done, it was done. And I could never fix it. He was hurt. The damage was done. I felt like I had to atone. Put myself in limbo or something.”

Easy stared over at me. “Limbo? Is that some Catholic thing? What the hell does that even mean? James Lee, you didn’t lay the IED in the road. You didn’t tell your spotter to get out of the vehicle, start jumping up and down on the spot where he’d seen a wire buried.”

“That’s what got him hurt. Once you’ve got an injury to the brain, it’s probably for a lifetime. That’s what TBI is, right?”

“Yeah, he’s got a TBI, but that wasn’t what got him hurt. What got him hurt was he had feelings for you, had a big thumping heart of an adolescent crush on you. And you knew it and didn’t do anything to stop it. He was acting like an idiot to impress you. That’s what got him hurt.”

I stared out the window again.

“You did the wrong thing with me, pushing me away. I was a man, and we were lovers. We were in love. We could have made it work, and fuck the Army. It was real. Austin was just a kid. He depended on you, looked up to you. You were his captain, and you got a kick out of all those young boys crushing on you. Big black eyes, ripped muscles, silky black hair. You looked like some vid star, and they would have followed you into hell. Not because you were their leader. Because you were you.”

I closed my eyes. I wanted to be anywhere but inside this truck, with this man shoving his angry truth in my face. Did I really do that? Did I take advantage of those kids, play them when I should have been thinking how to keep them safe?

“I loved you then, Jamie, and I still do. But that doesn’t mean I don’t see you. I see who you are. And if you even think about trying to walk away again in the fucking middle of this, I’m going to break you into pieces. I won’t let you do it to me again.”

That’s exactly what I was thinking, about walking away. I was picturing walking down this road, my thumb out, anonymous, no history, drifting across America with the truckers, listening to them talk, and meditating. Not doing anyone any good and not doing anyone any harm. Was that the balance I was looking for, between harm and good? Was it a worthy goal for a life, to try to stop hurting other people? Or did I have a tendency to leave when things got too hard and too real?

“I have about said all I’m going to say on this. Oh, one more thing. We had peanut butter and jelly for supper and donuts for breakfast. I’m hungry. I’m stopping at the first diner I see that has burgers on the grill. And you can stop crying anytime.”

“I’m not crying,” I said, wiping my eyes with the heel of my hand. “I’m allergic to the dog.”


American Road Trip, by Sarah Black, out March 16 from Dreamspinner Press

A single moment—or a single mistake—can change everything.

When Captain James Lee Hooker and his lover, Sergeant Easy Jacobs, were in the Army, they made a mistake that got a young soldier hurt. Three years later, they’re civilians again, living far apart, haunted by what they lost. Now that young soldier needs their help.

With his grandmother’s one-eyed Chihuahua riding shotgun, James Lee climbs into Easy’s pickup for a trip across the American Southwest. They set out to rescue a friend, but their journey transforms them with the power of forgiveness.

Author Bio: Sarah Black is a writer, artist, veteran, and mother. She is a Lambda finalist.

American Road Trip has an epilogue! “Tino Takes the Cake” is offered free on Dreamspinner’s blog on March 16, and tells the story of the main characters’wedding! 

You can find it here:

New Release Blitz for Tomboy by Janelle Reston (excerpt and giveaway)


Title:  Tomboy

Author: Janelle Reston

Publisher:  NineStar Press

Release Date: March 19, 2018

Heat Level: 1 – No Sex

Pairing: Female/Female

Length: 17000

Genre: romance, historical, LGBT, Historical, lesbian, 1950’s, tomboy, student, blue collar, mechanic, NASA, scientist, friends to lovers

Add to Goodreads


Some kids’ heads are in the clouds. Harriet Little’s head is in outer space.

In 1950s America, everyone is expected to come out of a cookie-cutter mold. But Harriet prefers the people who don’t, like her communist-sympathizer father and her best friend Jackie, a tomboy who bucks the school dress code of skirts and blouses in favor of T-shirts and blue jeans. Harriet realizes she’s also different when she starts to swoon over Rosemary Clooney instead of Rock Hudson—and finds Sputnik and sci-fi more fascinating than sock hops.

Before long, Harriet is secretly dating the most popular girl in the school. But she soon learns that real love needs a stronger foundation than frilly dresses and feminine wiles.


Janelle Reston © 2018
All Rights Reserved

The first time I met Jackie, I thought she was a boy. Of course, she was only eight then, an age when most humans would still be fairly androgynous if our society didn’t have the habit of primping us up in clothes that point in one direction or the other.

Jackie was in straight-legged dungarees, a checkered button-down shirt, and a brown leather belt with crossed rifles embossed on the brass buckle. Her hair was short, trimmed above the ears.

“Who’s that new boy?” my friend Shelley whispered as we settled into our desks. It was the first day of fourth grade, and Mrs. Baumgartner had made folded-paper name placards for each seat so we’d know where to go. Shelley always sat right in front of me because our last names were next to each other in the alphabet. She was Kramer; I was Little.

I looked at the blond cherub in the front row. He—as I thought Jackie was at the time—had his gaze set toward the ceiling, eyes tracing the portraits of the US presidents that hung at the top of the wall. A cowlick stuck up from the back of his head. He reminded me of Dennis the Menace, the mischievous star of my new favorite cartoon strip, which had debuted in our local paper that summer. I liked the way Dennis talked back to adults but somehow never got in trouble for it. I wished I had the same courage.

Mrs. Baumgartner walked into the room. The class fell silent and we straightened in our chairs, facing her. “Good morning, class. I’m your teacher for this year, Mrs. Baumgartner.”

“Good morning, Mrs. Baumgartner,” we answered in unison. She spelled her name on the chalkboard in cursive and asked us to recite the Pledge of Allegiance. Back then, the Pledge didn’t have the gist of a prayer like it does today; “under God” wasn’t added to “one nation indivisible” until three years later, after Eisenhower became president. I wiggled my toes around in my hand-me-down saddle shoes as we recited the words.

The trouble began when Mrs. Baumgartner started to take attendance. “Jacqueline Auglaize?”

“Here, Mrs. Baumgartner,” Dennis the Menace answered from the front row.

Mrs. Baumgartner narrowed her eyes. “New year at a new school, and we’re starting with the practical jokes already?”

“No, ma’am.”

“Will the real Jacqueline Auglaize please speak up? This is your only warning.” Mrs. Baumgartner’s eyes scanned the room. I craned my neck around. I hadn’t noticed any new girls in the classroom before our teacher’s arrival, but maybe I’d been distracted by the Dennis the Menace boy.

“I’m Jackie Auglaize, ma’am,” Dennis the Menace piped up again.

Mrs. Baumgartner’s face screwed up as if she’d accidentally sucked on a lemon. “What you are is on the way to the principal’s office, young man.”

“I’m not—”

“And a detention for talking back.”

Mrs. Baumgartner called on one of the other boys to escort the new, nameless student to his punishment. From chin to scalp, Dennis the Menace’s face turned red as a beet. His flushed ears looked almost purple against his pale hair.

Kids playing pranks didn’t blush like that.

“I think that really is a girl,” I whispered to Shelley. But if she heard, she didn’t respond. She knew better than to turn around in her seat when a teacher was already angry.

An hour later, Mrs. Baumgartner was quizzing us on our classroom rules when the school secretary appeared at the door. In tow was a student in a frilly cap-sleeved blouse, knee-length blue corduroy jumper with a flared skirt, lace-trimmed white bobby socks, a pair of shiny black Mary Janes—and short blonde hair.

The cowlick stood like a sentinel at the back of her scalp despite the hair polish that had clearly been combed through since we’d last seen her.

An audible gasp filled the classroom. Actually, it was multiple gasps, but they happened in such synchronization that they had the effect of a single, sustained note.

“Mrs. Baumgartner,” the secretary said, “Jacqueline Auglaize is ready to return to the classroom. We’ve explained the school dress code to her mother. The behavior of this morning won’t be repeated.”

“Thank you, Miss Hamilton. Welcome back, Jacqueline.”

Titters filled the room as Jacqueline walked toward her desk. Mrs. Baumgartner slapped her ruler against her desk. “Does anyone else want a detention?”

We went quiet. Detentions are never an auspicious way to start a new school year.

We spent the rest of the morning learning how to protect ourselves from atomic explosions. Mrs. Baumgartner said this knowledge could save us now that the Soviets had the bomb. “When an air raid siren goes off or you see a bright flash of light, duck and cover underneath a table or desk, inside a corridor, or next to a strong brick wall. Then pull your sweater or coat up to cover the back of your neck and head,” she explained.

We all squatted under our desks as instructed. My father said the Russians weren’t stupid enough to bomb us, that they loved the common people and wanted to protect us. But Mrs. Baumgartner seemed to think they were. She went on in excruciating detail about the things that could happen to us if we didn’t duck and cover. Glass from broken windows could fly in our faces, we could get a terrible sunburn from the blast; pieces of ceiling might drop on our heads. I wasn’t sure whom to believe about the bomb—my dad or Mrs. Baumgartner. I didn’t want to think about it. I shut out my teacher’s voice and stared at my scuffed saddle shoes, pondering how a boy could magically turn into a girl in the wink of an eye.

“She’s not a girl,” Shelley insisted as we walked out to morning recess. “Girls can’t have hair like that.”

“They can if they cut it.”

“But no mother would let a girl wear her hair so short.”

“The school wouldn’t let a boy wear a dress to class.”

Shelley must have been won over by my logic, because the next thing that came out of her mouth was, “Maybe she has a little brother who likes to stick gum in people’s hair.” Shelley’s brother had done that to her once, but since he only got it on the tail end of her braid, she hadn’t lost much length to the scissors when her mother cut it out. “Or she got lice. Yuck.”

I didn’t like the direction of Shelley’s last comment. As it was, the new girl was guaranteed to have very few friends after the morning’s clothing incident. If the lice rumor spread, she’d have no friends at all. I’d been new once too.

“She doesn’t look dirty,” I said. “Maybe her hair got caught in an escalator and they had to cut it off.” I was terrified of escalators. My mother had warned me never to play around on one or my clothes would get snagged between the steps and I’d be pulled in, then smashed as flat as a pancake. Back when she worked in a department store, before marrying my dad, she saw a lady get caught by the scarf in an escalator’s moving handrail, and it would have been death by strangling if an alert gentleman with a penknife hadn’t been nearby to free her. I still get a little on edge every time I step onto one.

We got in line to play hopscotch on a board a couple other girls had drawn earlier that morning. I looked around. The whole school was out on the playground, and it was harder than I would have expected to find a short-haired girl in a blue jumper. There were lots of blue corduroy jumpers darting around the swings and monkey bars and jungle gym. Wanamaker’s must have featured them in its back-to-school sale that year. My dress wasn’t new. It was a hand-me-down from my older sister, with a ribbon tie and a skirt made with less fabric than the newer fashions. Shelley and I had done a test run of our first-day outfits the previous week, and no matter how fast I spun around, my skirt failed to billow as dramatically as Shelley’s.

Still, I tried to make the skirt swing gracefully as I hopped down the squares. I had no desire to be dainty, but I liked the aesthetic of fabric twirling in the air. We went through the hopscotch line four times before I finally spotted Jackie. She was over by the fence, poking at the dirt with a stick. Alone.

That last bit was no surprise.

It took three more rounds of hopscotch before I worked up the nerve to go find out what she was doing.

“Where are you going?” Shelley called as I marched off.

I didn’t answer her, afraid I’d lose my momentum. It was risky talking to an outcast. On the one hand, it was the only way to turn her into not-an-outcast. On the other hand, it might turn me into one too.

“What are you doing?”

Jackie looked up. “Thinking about digging a hole to China.”


NineStar Press | Amazon | Smashwords | Barnes & Noble | Kobo

Meet the Author

Janelle Reston lives in a northern lake town with her partner and their black cats. She loves watching Battlestar Galactica and queering gender. You can keep up with her at



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Trying Times and Scattered Thoughts. This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words


Trying Times and Scattered Thoughts

This week I’m still trying to wrap my head around several thoughts this week, none of which is actually coming together into an cohesive post.   That’s the impact of all the events of the last week is having on me I guess.

Without even knowing the people involved, I’m hurting for them.  And our LGBTQIA  community.  I don’t know why I would think that the harm to the  community would always come from outside. Several times that’s proven not to be the case.  Santino Hassell is not the first case of catfishing, but  he has also hurt others in far worse ways.  That story is still unraveling.

Then there is the deeply disturbing events that lead to Riptide Publishing cutting all ties to  Sarah Lyon, ex Editoral Director, and Kate DeGroot, ex freelance editor and regrouping.  So many elements there to occupy my mind, but floating to the top have been things like “POC can’t be on book covers because they won’t sell. ”  And the obvious racism that existed at every corner there for some personnel/authors.  In an age of diversity, when we are talking about Quiltbag fiction…how can we still be facing such blatant racism?

Any why was it allowed to continue?

I get the power imbalance.  How could any of those authors speak up?  It would  cost them their stories and perhaps their livelihood. Or the artists who design covers they authors get to choose from.  I bet they got the message loud and clear to begin with. But truly?  Now, here?  Isn’t it time for us to be done with this?

But then I started to look through all the stories, catalogs, tons of covers…and noticed a dearth of yes, POC.  I began to wonder….are there more people like Sarah out there  telling artists and authors in our community …”don’t put POC on the cover, it won’t sell…”.  What an insidious, mean, racist sentence.  Guaranteed to make someone without power stop and think, and perhaps pull back.

I think it’s becoming clear..yes racism is with us…even in the LGBTQIA community.  We just need to choose to recognize it.  And then deal with it in a positive manner.  Help support those authors and publishers going forward towards  diversity across the spectrum in every way.

What are your thoughts on this and this whole sorry week.  Mine clearly are still coming together….

This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Sunday, March 18:

  • This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Monday, March 19:

  • DSP Promo Sarah Black on American Road Trip
  • BLITZ Tomboy by Janelle Reston
  • Livingston (Trenton Security #1) by J.M. Dabney Release Day Blog
  • A MelanieM Review:Livingston (Trenton Security #1) by J.M. Dabney
  • A Stella Review One Under by JL Merrow
  • An Alisa Review: No Rulebook for Flirting by Laura Bailo

Tuesday, March 20:

  • Blog Tour Jace’s Trial by JM Wolf
  • BLITZ The Moth and Moon by Glenn Quigley
  • TOUR Cutie Pies by Barbara Bell
  • A MelanieM Review:  Mage of Inconvenience by Parker Foye
  • An Alisa Review: Captive Hearts (Deviant Hearts #1) by A E Ryecart
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Audiobook Review: A Wild Ride (The Bullriders #1) by Andrew Grey and John Solo (Narrator)

Wednesday, March 21:

  • DSP Promo Julia Talbot
  • BLITZ The Vampire’s Angel by Damian Serbu
  • Release Blitz – Breaking the Rules by C.J. Lynne
  • A Caryn Review The Weekend Bucket List by Mia Kerick
  • An Alisa Review: The Paramedic Who Hated Jazz by Stephani Hecht
  • A Stella Review: Jace’s Trial (Trials in Abingdon #1) by J.M. Wolf (

Thursday, March 22:

  • DSP Promo S.E. Harmon
  • TOUR The Vampire’s Angel by Damian Serbu
  • RELEASE DAY BLITZ Moon Illusion by Michelle Osgood
  • An Ali Review: ​​​​Oskar Blows a Gasket​ by Al Stewart​
  • A MelanieM Review: Partner with Benefits (Kolar Creek Tales) by Val Francis
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Audiobook Review: How to Bang a Billionaire (Arden St. Ives #1) by Alexis Hall and Joel Leslie (Narrator)

Friday, March 23:

  • DSP PROMO SJD Peterson on Going Of Grid
  • Release Day Blitz for Leaning into the Look by Lane Hayes
  • Tour and Giveaway: One Under by JL Merrow
  • A Lila Release Day Review:   Going Off Grid by SJD Peterson
  • A MelanieM Review: One Under by JL Merrow
  • An Alisa Audiobook Review: Permanent Ink (Art & Soul #1) by Avon Gale and Piper Vaughn /Kirt Graves (Narrator)

Saturday, March 24:

  • A MelanieM Review: Murder Takes the High Road by Josh Lanyon

In the Spotlight: AE Via on her new release Promises Part 4 (Bounty Hunters #4) by A.E. Via



Author A.E. Via

Title:  Promises Part

Series: Bounty Hunters Series

Book Four


Edited by: Sue Laybourn

Cover Artist – Jay Aheer


Release Date: March 9, 2018

Purchase Links

Amazon Link:





Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to have A.E. Via here today to talk about the latest story Promises in her Bounty Hunter series. Welcome, AE!


Now, being a bounty hunter is Brian’s only means to satisfy his need to calculate, track, and capture. His only outlet to the stress caused by his silence. He was good at what he did. But, all work and no play for a forty-four year old man was taking its toll. Brian wasn’t a faulty experiment. He missed companionship, he missed communicating. So, when he met Sway Hamilton – in the most unconventional means – he’d been surprised at his special way of understanding Brian’s every look… and touch.

Sway grew up in the rough part of ATL, trailing behind his twin brother Stanton and his best friend, Dana. He and his brother had a bond only twins could understand. So when Stanton’s life was taken during their sophomore year in college, Sway didn’t think he’d ever recover. He finally finished school, got his masters in nursing, worked hard, and focused on taking care of his mother. However, Sway knew there was more to life than heartache, and caring for others. There had to be. But he didn’t know what any of those things were until he met a dark hunter that blew his mind… and the intense man had never uttered a single word.

Brian and Sway can feel the powerful connection between them. It was there from the start—but both of them have battled with loss and anguish for so long, neither understand that love can ease all of it. Do they have the courage to battle through it together? Sway has to learn to trust in love, and Brian has to believe that Sway will always understand him even if he never speaks again.

Sway held him tight around his neck, “I don’t need you to talk, Brian. I can hear you just fine,” Sway whispered softly, kissing his throat.


Men found him attractive, interesting even. He was like a fascinating experiment gone wrong that men liked to investigate. He’d get a date – or two, if he was lucky – but it wasn’t long before Brian’s darkness showed, and the men were running from him.

Brian King was honorably discharged from the United States Navy five years ago. He’d left with the highest honors a man can receive in his country, but he’d paid the ultimate price to earn them. He was considered one of the best; an Intelligence Officer in a Joint Special Operations Delta team that’d been a twelve-man wrecking crew. They’d thought they were invincible… until they weren’t. Brian was the only member that survived the ambush. He survived ten months of pain, of torture, only to emerge on the other side a warrior. A POW survivor. He’d returned home with all his limbs, his right mind, and with his only brother Ford, at his side. But, one thing had been lost, maybe for good… his voice.

This novel is a part of a series but can be read as a standalone. No cliffhangers.

Trigger Warning: This story contains acts of bond recovery agent violence. Mention of war zones and descriptions of war prisoners. This story DOES NOT contain overly-described acts of torture.



Dana lifted the beer that Sway had already ordered for him and took a large gulp, wiping his mouth with the sleeve of his old Dallas hoodie. “So, what’s up swish-and-sway? Spit it out. Applebee’s ain’t open twenty-four hours.”

Sway rolled his eyes at the nickname and decided to get down to why he’d called his brother out at almost nine o’clock at night. “How well do you know Brian?”

Dana finished his beer and flagged the waitress for another before he turned back to him. “I’ve known him a few years, just as long as I’ve known Ford. They both came to work for Duke at the same time, bout three and half years ago. I’ve worked side by side with them ever since.”

Sway hoped he could get as many of his questions answered as he could before Dana started to act like Dana. “What was your first impression of him?”

“Damn that guy’s huge… and quiet.” Dana chuckled.

“Dana come on, be serious.” It sounded like a whine, but he could do that with Dana. He was tired, irritable and his feet hurt, he was allowed to groan.

“So, first impressions.” Dana looked away as if he was carefully considering his words.  “Brian wowed me on the very first bust he and his brother assisted us on. Judge—you know Duke’s other business partner who runs the PI business—he brought them on to help temporarily after Duke was injured. They were only supposed to aid with one case. Needless to say, that was years ago and they’re still with us. The way Brian calculates and moves is freakin’ crazy.”

“Do you trust him, D?” Sway asked quietly. “Is he dangerous?”

Dana was serious when he answered. “Personally, I think he’s the most dangerous man in Atlanta, but he’s only a threat to certain people. To answer your other question, I trust him with my life every day, and the life of my partner. He’s an amazing man. I’m lucky to have met him but even luckier to call him a friend. I’d trust him with my baby brother too.”


A.E. (Adrienne) Via has been a best-selling author in gay romance for five years now, but she’s no stranger to MM. She’s been an avid reader of gay lit for over twenty years before she picked up her laptop to place her own kiss on this beautiful genre. She’s also the founder and owner of Via Star Wings Books, having published a couple of great new up and coming MM authors.

A.E. has a Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice from Virginia Wesleyan College that she used to start her own paralegal firm after she graduated in 2008. She spent five years preparing and filing bankruptcy petitions for struggling blue collar workers who couldn’t afford to file with a lawyer. It was a rewarding and satisfying career… but another path called to me. Writing.

A.E.’s writing embodies everything from hopelessly romantic to adventure, to scandalous. Her stories often include intriguing edges and twists that take readers to new, thought-provoking depths.

Now that she’s gotten over her 10 books published hump, she’s kind of known now for her play rough and love hard, bad boy, alphas. However, I do like to push myself to step out of my comfort zone and explore with different tropes, but I never push myself into a whole other genre. I’m head over heels for gay romance and I have tons of more hot stories to tell.

Be sure to visit Adrienne on her social media pages and subscribe to her newsletter to never miss another release date! or Go to A.E. Via’s official website  for more detailed information on how to contact her, follow her, or a sneak peek on upcoming work, free reads, VSWB submissions, and where she’ll appear next.

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Release Blitz – Dusk (Expedition 63: Book One) by T.A. Creech (excerpt and giveaway)



Universal Buy Links

Length: 42,700 words approx.

Publisher: JMS Books


When contact is lost with Mission Control, Commander John Dennington isn’t overly concerned. Such hiccups in communication are common. The first inkling of the larger problem occurs when he sees the very shape of the world change before his eyes.

John must ease his crew into a new mission and keep the Station together by any means necessary. The crew jeopardizes their chances by fighting his orders, but Jason Weiss, his mission specialist and the light of his life, makes John’s situation more bearable.

The smallest malfunction to Station or crew would spell the end for six astronauts trapped high above a ruined Earth. It’s their mission to carry on. Random chance of the universe hasn’t operated in their favor so far, but John is determined to see them all safely home.


“Nobody’s going to be angry if you literally can’t get a hold of them,” John tried to placate him. The wrinkled nose on his cool bronze face didn’t reassure him that Yakecen would let it go, but he had to try. His prickly friend was going to blow a gasket one day and John hated the thought.

Yakecen confirmed his fear with a shake of his head, simple crow black braid swishing against the interior panels like an agitated cat’s tail. “I don’t want to get dressed down again. The last time, the asshole on the other end of the line said she’d put a reprimand in my file if I couldn’t stay on schedule.”

That was news to him. “Who told you this?”

“Some drone in Control. I don’t remember,” he told John, the discomfort in his whole body clear as day. Yakecen wasn’t a people person on his good days and when someone had a problem with his work, it just made him dig his heels in.

John sighed and ran his index finger down the bridge of his nose. It didn’t help the headache that brewed right behind his eyes. “I’ll get it straightened out. People can’t expect everything to go perfectly all the time and they shouldn’t take it out on you.”

“Thanks, John.” Yakecen meant it, John saw it in the earnest way he thanked him. John was happy to be the buffer for his crew, especially for Yakecen, but fuck, he hoped someone would take up the duty once they back on the ground. John had plans and he couldn’t do that job full time.

John nodded and started to back out of the capsule. “So, yeah, comms are down. Just sit tight, okay?”

“Sure thing.” Yakecen ducked out of sight between the seats. “And tell whoever has the camera to knock off with the flash. It’s so bright, going off in here, that it almost gave me a headache.”

John paused. A camera flash wasn’t anywhere near that strong and the interior wasn’t that dark. And someone would’ve made a lot of racket getting past the garbage container over his head. “You see who it was?”

“No,” was the muffled answer, but his crewmember popped up again and gave John a strange look. “I didn’t see anyone when I checked. Although, how any of our guys avoided me seeing them, I’ll never know. Saito even has a problem getting in here.”

Saito was the smallest of them all, barely five feet in his socks.

“Huh.” That was peculiar. “You know, Turlach was saying the same thing. Maybe Saito knows something about it. He’s been in Destiny for a few hours now.”

“It was annoying as fuck.” Yakecen popped back out of his spot and pointed a finger at John. He hated that finger, because Yakecen always managed to have a disapproving look that matched John’s mother’s so perfectly, he thought they were clones for a second. “I don’t have a problem with the candid shots, but not while I’m working in here. It’s too dark for it.”

“Understood,” John promised.

About the Author

I am a house-parent to a rambunctious small child and happily mated to an equally rambunctious military spouse. My adventures in writing began with fanfiction, and once I was hooked I never looked back.

While I’ve always tried to make my fanfiction unique, what I enjoy most about creating original work is the ability to delve into my stranger ideas without worrying about how I might apply them to someone else’s world and characters. With my own creations, I take pride in twisting familiar tropes into something new and unexpected.

When I write, it is with the intention that my stories will leave a lasting impression. I hope you enjoy the characters and the worlds I create, and that they help you to find a place to exist, for a while, outside of your own.

–T.A. Creech



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A MelanieM Review: Sound of Silence by Mia Kerick and Raine O’Tierney


Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5


High school senior Renzy Callen hasn’t uttered a word in years. He likes being invisible to all around him; it keeps life safe and predictable. In his attic bedroom, he experiences a world far from the drama of his family. He doodles, listens to music, and contemplates the troubled souls he observes when attending self-help meetings designed for people with problems he doesn’t have. Renzy lives his life like a spectator, always on the outside of life’s games, looking in at others.

Everything changes when Seven and Morning Moreau-Maddox relocate from their glitzy lives in Paris to boring, picturesque Redcliff Hills, Missouri. Tall, platinum blond, and as put-together as a pair of European high-fashion models, the sophisticated siblings befriend Renzy, drawing him in and then pushing him away. What starts as nothing more than a means to an end for Seven, however, quickly becomes something more. Could icy-hearted Seven be thawing for the silent, quirky charm of Renzy Callen?

Determined to find the cause of Renzy’s selective mutism, the three teens set off on a road trip, during which they discover that flawless physical facades can conceal the most scarred souls, and that sometimes silence is better than golden.

It’s not often a contemporary story can astonish me with elements of uniqueness but Sound of Silence by Mia Kerick and Raine O’Tierney certainly did.  Several times over.  Starting with the protagonists themselves,  the three wounded teenagers at the heart of this story, Renzy Callen, Seven and Morning Moreau-Maddox.

I can’t imagine where or how the authors came up with these characters, now marked so indelibly into my heart and mind, but starting with Renzy Callen, who hasn’t talked in years, his inability to utter a sound and his method of communicating is the soul of the story.   He tries to blend into his surroundings, ghosting through his life, invisible until he  comes to the notice of Morning Moreau-Maddox, ateenager traumatized from a brutal rape,  and through association to Morning, her brother Maddox, her constant companion and protector.  Sleek, blond, seemingly self possessed, Morning recognizes a kinself with herself in Renzy, both dealing with their own traumas in different ways but still alike.  For Maddox, Renzy presents a puzzle to unravel as well as one more person to act as guardian over.

This book operates on so many levels and it’s done so well, it’s actually hard to reviews.  The characterizations are highly unusual, layered, remarkable.  You have three separate voices that are guaranteed to stay in your head for quite some time.  Especially as they grow over the course of the story, events forcing them to look at themselves, reexamine the dynamics of their own relationships from those of the siblings to that of the young lovers Renzy and Maddox.  It is one complex relationship after another.  Plus the close friendship  that Morning has with Renzy.  And that’s not even starting to get into the odd parent or should I say emotionally detached or worse parent relationships these teenagers have.

Like twisting vines of ivy, the various story threads, wind their way through each other connecting and intertwining in surprising and sometimes heartbreaking ways to uncover the truth behind Renzy’s selective mutism.  It will also lead to new paths for Morning and Maddox as well.

Such an amazing novel.  The writing is smooth and so well done that you don’t notice how quickly you’ve been drawn into the lives of this incredible trio until you realize it’s 2am and you haven’t stopped reading.  I loved the ending.  Like everything else about this story,  the changes and growth of the characters to the last sentence, everything works and makes you want to read it again just to to watch it unfold all over again.

I highly recommend Sound of Silence by Mia Kerick and Raine O’Tierney.  It’s truly one of those books you won’t want to miss.

Cover Artist: Aaron Anderson.  Cover art is just as unusual as the book.

Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK | Harmony Ink | iBooks

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 214 pages
Published January 23rd 2018 by Harmony Ink Press
Edition Language English

A MelanieM Release Day Review: ​American Road Trip by Sarah Black


Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

A single moment—or a single mistake—can change everything.

When Captain James Lee Hooker and his lover, Sergeant Easy Jacobs, were in the Army, they made a mistake that got a young soldier hurt. Three years later, they’re civilians again, living far apart, haunted by what they lost. Now that young soldier needs their help.

With his grandmother’s one-eyed Chihuahua riding shotgun, James Lee climbs into Easy’s pickup for a trip across the American Southwest. They set out to rescue a friend, but their journey transforms them with the power of forgiveness.

Hallelujah, that spare, rare , totally wonderful literary voice known as Sarah Black is back in American Road Trip.  How I’ve missed her unique perspective.  Her narrative so powerfully evocative in rendering the American West and US veterans so vividly alive and haunting have stayed with me story after story.   Now comes another.

Told in alternating time frames, we get the past that has framed the current circumstances under which Captain James Lee Hooker now finds himself.  Adrift after being discharged from the Army, he was sent to look after his grandmother in Albuquerque, New Mexico, where he ends up staying after she dies, looking after her house and dog Tino.

Sergeant Easy Jacobs is sent on a mission.  Go look for his cousin, Austin.  The very same young soldier from their troop injured in the IED blast in Afghanistan, a blast that left lasting reverberations on Easy and James Lee.   It sends him looking for his Captain and a long overdue meeting with his ex-lover.

American Road Trip pulls out all the convoluted feelings between these two in one memorable road trip across America, in small cabins and motels with Tino, a one-eyed Chihuahua, who they keep telling the people they encountered different stories as to how he came to lose that eye.  Each tale more more hysterical than the previous one and just as unbelievable.  All the while the men reconnecting, exploring their past, their present, and just perhaps seeing if they have a future again together.

I read it twice.

This particularly american rite of passage was so sweet, touching, and yes, hilarious in sections.  How I loved that dog.  I also found out he was based on Sarah’s rescue dog, a Chihuahua also named Tino, made it all the more heartwarming.

This is a HFN, which is as it should be given their past, this road trip, and their recent reconnection.  I would love for Sarah to bring them back later for us to see how it all works out, Austin included.  So many stories on that road.  I feel they were just getting started.

If you are expecting a lot of erotica, this is probably not the book for you.  This is all about characterizations, the past and where our current paths will take us.  It’s about forgiveness and redemption.  And the beauty that can be found in the small out of the way places along the road if you only stop to look.

Yes, I highly recommend this and the author.  Welcome back, Sarah Black.  You’ve been missed.

Cover Artist: Tiferet Design.  I liked that cover.  It has the colors I think of when I t hink of the desert and the American West.  And yes  that’s James Lee rocking that ponytail and yoga pants all right.  Ok, I love it.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | Amazon

Book Details:

book, 86 pages
Expected publication: March 16th 2018 by Dreamspinner Press
Edition LanguageEnglish

A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: Ever After by Riley Hart & Christina Lee


Rating: 4 stars out of 5

This is a sweet fairy tale so well done that I was left feeling warm and fuzzy and somewhat in love with the characters in the same way I did when I was a child and first heard the story of Sleeping Beauty and her prince.  The authors created a timeless world in which a man loving a man was not unheard of but was considered unacceptable.  But it was not punishable by death, and by the end of the story, readers could hold out hope that in this particular magical kingdom same sex love might become so much the norm that it wouldn’t even be remarked upon.  If Prince Merrick gets his wish, that may well happen. 

Merrick is under a lot of pressure from his family to choose a bride so that he can ensure the future of the kingdom.  The only one who seems to support him in his hesitation to choose just anyone without being in love with them is his sister.  In fact, throughout the story, she’s his champion, even arranging for several intriguing plot points that throw him in the path of his one true love. 

Cassius is a simple man, devoted to his family and excited by the prospect of being chosen as valet to Prince Merrick.  Promoted through the ranks rather quickly, he doesn’t have a lot of friends and he’s never told his family of his preference for men.  When he gets to know the real Prince Merrick, he discovers a young man who truly cares about others and who has an artist’s soul.  Merrick enjoys the little things in life and appreciates the beauty of nature more than the beauty of his family’s pompous surroundings.  He’s like no other and certainly not like Cas had imagined the future king would be.

Merrick and Cas fall in love over the course of weeks together.  It’s all the little everyday things Merrick does for Cas—like taking him riding, or encouraging him in his story and poetry writing, and eventually making a stop to meet Cas’s family.  Merrick loves Cas’s beautiful nature and the heart of a poet.  He admires his humility and, of course, the two eventually become romantically involved, though they know their days together are numbered.  Cas has already made up his mind that he’ll leave Merrick’s service once the prince chooses a bride at the Winter Solstice Ball. 

The fairy tale plot thickens as the prince sees his love from across the room.   But as should happen in any good fairy tale, his love runs, leaving both heartbroken.  Of course, the authors wouldn’t leave us there and we do eventually get a happily ever after, but it’s the sweetness of reading their adventure that makes this story most memorable.  And make no mistake—there’s no major drama or heartache in this one.  It’s purely sweet—as in a magical fairy tale. 

Kudos to both authors for bringing us this story and, on a personal note, for giving me one more memorable fairy tale to add to my favorites list.  I highly recommend this to those who want to simply go away to a sweet place, daydream to their heart’s content, and end the day on a happy note.    


Cover art is a caricature depiction of Prince Merrick offering his hand to Cassius at the Winter Solstice Ball.  The outfits exactly match the descriptions in the book. It’s colorful, sweet, and exactly right for this story. 

Sales Link:  Amazon

Book Detail:

Kindle Edition, 1 edition, 262 pages
Published February 26th 2018 by Christina Lee and Riley Hart
Original TitleEver After
Edition LanguageEnglish