Review: Spirit by John Inman

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Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

Spirit coverWhen Jason Day, video games designer, agrees to watch his precocious four-year-old nephew, Timmy, for four weeks he has no idea how his life will be forever changed by his acceptance. Jason works from home and is a confirmed, but not happy about it, gay bachelor.  He is the only immediate family in his his nephew’s life outside of his nephew’s mom as Timmy’s father disappeared several years ago and has never been heard from again.  Jason is surprised to find himself bonding with Timmy, loving the 4 year old’s company even as it exhausts him.

Then a young man arrives and announces himself as Timmy’s uncle too but from the other, still missing, side of the family.  His appearance starts off a series of startling events, not the least of which is a ghostly presence that is getting increasingly agitated by the hour.  Soon Jason finds himself with a burgeoning love interest, a mystery that turns ominous, and a ghost with an alarming sense of humor.   Things are getting out of hand and Jason finds himself and Timmy right in the middle of it all.  Can the weirdest summer Jason has ever had also turn out to be his best?

I found author John Inman about 5 books of his ago after cuddling up to Loving Hector.  Between gales of laughter and more than a few shed tears, I knew that John Inman, with his talent for writing comedic fiction with a heart, would always have a place on my must read author list.  After Loving Hector, came Shy, and Hobbled, and Serenading Stanley, and all the rest leading up to Spirit, a whacky, supernatural infused tale of love and what it means to be a family, ancient Chihuawhatits included. And while I can always be certain that each tale of his will include some gut busting scenes of humor and maybe a dog or two, everything else comes as a surprise.  That’s what I found with Sprit.  Surprise after surprise to my total delight and absolute amusement.

How else can you explain a supernatural love story murder mystery?  Because that is exactly what Spirit is, a conglomeration of elements and genres that swirl around a thirty something video game designer, Jason, and his energetic, intelligent 4 year-old nephew, Timmy.   It is clear that when Jason’s sister drops off Timmy before heading off on vacation that Jason has only spent short amounts of time with his nephew and has no idea what is in store for him during this extended stay.  Why you ask? Because so much of what happens with Timmy here is accurate (ok, supernatural stuff not withstanding). YOu can child proof your house all you want but there will always be something that is missed or not thought of. That haircutting business that Inman throws in?  Perfection and spot on.  Sometime I will recount my college days in Ohio and a certain preschool playground when scissors reigned supreme and 3 to 5 year olds ran amuck inside those concrete cylinders that were ubiquitous at the time. Thank you, John Inman, for bringing those memories so vividly back home.  I had to put my Kindle down because my sides hurt from laughing so much at Timmy and his haircut.

Some readers will look at Timmy with askance.  I can hear them asking “Is that really how a 4 year old will act and speak?”

Let me say, with years of experience behind me as a parent and park naturalist, ” why yes, indeedy, they do”.   Some toddlers and older kids come out just preternaturally smart and smart mouthed.  They can say the most amazing things and have the most acute  and unexpected take on situations that astound those that care to listen to them.  Not all, surely, but a larger amount of children than you would expect.  So when I came across Timmy, I felt as though here was a child I already knew.  And watching the relationship between Jason and Timmy unfold was truly a thing of joy.  From the funny conversations to the walks they had with Thumper who is, in John Inman’s words ” … a mix of Chihuahua, dachshund, miniature poodle, and quite possibly a three-toed sloth” and also 20 years old, this uncle/nephew bonding time felt real and loving.  The love that Jason feels for Timmy grows so strong and heart deep that it becomes ours as well.

That’s the just one of the familial love elements here.  Then Inman introduces us to Sam, Timmy’s uncle from his father’s side.  With Sam’s appearance, a whole slew of new elements come into play.  First there is the love aspect for Jason and Same, who is just as happily gay as Jason is.  Their attraction is immediate but there is no instant love to be found here, thankfully.  Just a naturally occurring affection that turns into something deeper as time passes and the astounding events unfold.   Sam is as realistic a character as the rest of the people to be found within this story.  His cautious acceptance of Jason and his pain over the mystery of his brother’s disappearance are easy to empathize with and believe in.  So we have love, love, and more love.  Terrific and endearing on every level.  Did I mention a dog’s love for a boy too? That’s here as well.

Then Timmy starts to see a ghost and everything turns into a supernatural mystery that starts pointing towards an dark happening in the not to distant past.  I loved Inman’s ghost, a supernatural entity at turns humorous and chilling.  And you never know which side of the ghost will arrive at any given situation. That’s another marvelous aspect of this story too.  The ghost does what all ghosts should, scare you, entertain you, and provide a certain amount of pathos one would expect from someone who…..oh never mind, Find out that one for yourself.

So yes, a mystery, a ghostly tale, a couple of love stories, both familial and romantic, Spirit is all that and more.  I loved it.  Did I see the ending coming?  Kind of but that in no way lessened my enjoyment of this story.  I don’t think it will yours either.  If you are unfamiliar with John Inman, this is a wonderful place to get acquainted.  Pick up Spirit and then work your way through his back list.  If you are already a fan of this author, then this is another story that you are sure to love.  Either way grab it up now and start reading!  I consider Spirit to be one of ScatteredThoughtsandRogueWords Highly Recommended Novels of 2014.

Here is an excerpt from the beginning chapter of Spirit:

I HAD toddler-proofed the house as best I could. The basement door was securely latched so the kid couldn’t tumble headfirst down the flight of stairs leading into the bowels of the house, snapping a myriad of youthful bones along the way. Electrical wires were safely coiled and taped up and tucked under furniture in case Timmy got the inexplicable urge to chew on them. Electrical outlets were covered. All breakable knick-knacks were raised out of reach and all dangerous objects securely stashed away— switchblades, rolls of barbed wire, plastic explosives, bobby pins. (Just kidding about the bobby pins. I’m not that nelly.)

✍My dog, Thumper, who was a mix of Chihuahua, dachshund, miniature poodle, and quite possibly a three-toed sloth, was no threat to Timmy at all. The poor thing was almost twenty years old and hardly had any teeth left. I hadn’t heard her bark in three years. She only moved off the sofa to eat and go potty, and once her business was done, she stood in front of the sofa looking up like the Queen Mother waiting for the carriage door to be opened until I scooped her off the floor and redeposited her among the cushions. Poor thing. (I mean me.) She lay there all day long watching TV: Channel 9, the Mexican channel. Don’t ask me why, but that was the only channel she would tolerate. Couldn’t live without it, in fact. The one benefit to this annoying habit of hers was that, while I didn’t understand my dog at all, I was pretty sure I was beginning to comprehend Spanish.

✍Timmy was at that happy stage of child rearing where he could pull down his own pants and climb onto the commode without any help from squeamish gay uncles. He had brought an entourage of toys with him that would have kept an orphanage entertained. The first thing I did after finding a trail of little black skid marks on my new oak flooring was to confiscate his tricycle, allocating the thing to outdoor use only, which Timmy accepted with stoic resignation, although I did hear him mumble something about chicken poop and peckerheads. I’m not sure if his watered-down-obscenity-strewn mumbling was related to the tricycle announcement but fear it was. While the kid might have gotten my brat gene, there was also little doubt he had inherited my sister’s sarcastic- foulmouthed-snarky gene. God help his teachers when he started school.

Cover art by Reese Dante.  Love this cover.  Spooky and pertinent in every way.  Great job.

Buy Links:    Dreamspinner Press         Amazon          ARe

Book Details:

ebook, 214 pages
Published March 17th 2014 by Dreamspinner Press (first published March 16th 2014)
ISBN 1627986812 (ISBN13: 9781627986816)
urlhttp://www.dreamspinnerpress.com

Review: No Ocean Too Deep (A Loose Screw) by Leona Carver

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Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

No Ocean Too Deep Carver_CoverWhere Amirzade Sharouk, son of the Amirate of Ujmah, his cousin Dastyaf Begzada is sure to follow.  When Sharouk decides that the only way to save his country and his people is to rebel against the Republic, Dastyaf is there to support his efforts and keep him safe.  Their plan? Destroy the Republic’s fleet by allying themselves with the legendary sea folk, masters of the leviathans, immense living weapons born of the sea and magic.  But during the initial battle, something goes terribly wrong and Sharouk goes overboard, taken by one of the leviathans.  Now Dastyaf, warrior and tactician, must rely on one of the sea people to help him get back his cousin, the man he loves and can never have.

Nils is a sea mage, one who controls the leviathans of the deep and knows their secret.  When one of his leviathans goes rogue during battle, Nils is at a loss to understand why.  Furthermore, that action will cost his people their pact with the King of the land people whose prince has been taken by the rogue leviathan.   Now Nils must join forces with a man from the land, Dastyaf, whose disapproval, desperation and need for control, is putting them at odds from the very start of the mission.

Both men will need to work together to save not only Sharouk but their kingdoms as well.  To do so, Dastyaf must agree to transform into one of the sea folk in order to follow Nils through the ocean depths.  For Dastyaf, it means not only the loss of his legs but of control over the situation and his body.  He will be helpless in another’s environment, an unfamiliar feeling he despises. And by saving Sharouk, he will lose him forever to another.

For Nils, it means giving up his perceptions and assumptions, not only of the land people but of the very leviathans he is close to. The journey to save Sharouk, is full of dangers to all involved and time is running out for everyone before all is lost.  Sharouk’s life, Dastyaf’s humanity, and for Nil’s? A love he never expected to feel for a man who loves another….

I love it when I find a book that unexpectedly opens the door into a mesmerizing universe. No Ocean Too Deep is just such a story. It is full of incredible creatures, dynamic characters and a plot as deep as the ocean in which all the events take place. Leona Carver is a new author for me but with this one story she turns into one of my must read authors on the strength of this story alone.

In No Ocean Too Deep, Leona Carver puts her own spin on mermen and the men who fall in love with them.  Carver’s plot is guaranteed to pull the reader down into her universe from the first page.  She sets up a situation in which two widely disparate kingdoms become allies to defeat a common enemy.  One kingdom is human and lives in the desert Amirate of Ujmah, an environment that can be as hostile as it is beautiful.  The other?  Sea folk, mermen, almost mythical in their own right in their watery kingdom also full of its own dangers and delights.  The  two protagonists have more in common then they are aware, especially as neither has any experience with the other’s world.  For Dastyaf, he usually has to deal with an ocean of sand, fraught with extreme heat, a dearth of water and  constantly shifting sands.  His is a world of light and dark where their caravans are guided by the stars above.  Nils is a sea witch merman  who lives in an ocean world of shifting current, little light, and a breadth  and variety of creatures, small to gargantuan, with varying degrees of risk associated with them.  Guided by his senses and shifting currents, darkness is of little concern, especially with his magic to assist him.  Each character is fully formed and feels so believable no matter what world they belong to.

Carver throws her characters into a plot born of desperation.  The kingdoms of a desert people and the sea folk make a pact to take down the Republic, a threat to both with its empire.  The Sea folk will use their leviathans, enormous sea creatures of magic and myth,  as weapons against the Republic’s fleet.  The desert kingdom’s prince, Amirzade (Prince) Sharouk and his warrior/tactician cousin, Dastyaf Begzada, will be aboard one of the enemies vessels under false pretenses.  This will help them direct their armies against the fleet when the battle starts. It’s a desperate and dangerous move made from necessity. Carver does such a splendid job bringing us directly into this precarious situation, a last ditch endeavor for Sharouk to break his people away from the control of the Republic with help from the sea folk.  Waiting back home for Sharouk is his royal family and fiance.  By his side, as always since childhood, stands his cousin, Dastyaf, a great warrior and best friend.  As the ships pitch wildly in the ocean waves, tentacles start to appear over the side of the vessels,the battle is engaged and the reader is thrown immediately into the fray.  Carver’s descriptions are dramatic and stirring, making the scenes scream with the emotions of the men on board.

But that is nothing compared to what happens when the location switches to the ocean depths and the sea folk themselves.  Here the mermen and their watery environment comes vibrantly alive from its many denizens to the myriad ocean landscapes Nils and Dastyaf journey through.  Vast  living carpets of coral, phosphorescent invertebrates, forests of kelp, and dinners that consist of living organisms instead of cooked meat.  Had I been able to stand within the story itself, my head would have been on a constant swivle as it turned here and there to observe all the amazing sights and creatures that Carver has in store for us and Dastyaf.  An ever moving banquet for the senses made all the more palpable as Dastyaf experiences it for the first time in his new temporary merman body.

Nils and Dastyaf’s journey is full of wonder and fears as Dastyaf’s tries to reconcile his human experience with his new merman one.  His frustration and fear as the light  fades into almost constant darkness is tangible, and his emotions become ours. I could go on and on about the sea witches, the canyons, and the leviathans themselves…but the discovery of wonders and suspense of this desperate mission is part of the joy and revelations found in No Ocean Too Deep and I don’t want to spoil them for you.   But I found myself going backwards to reread a description or scene to relive that moment over because it thrummed the wildness and surprise of  life lived under water.

As I said the characters are as wondrous and layered as their environment.  Dastyaf with his doomed love and desperate mission, Nils with his questions and assumptions, both men grow as individuals and together as their journey unfolds.  I grew to love both men and couldn’t figure out how Carver was going to bring this journey to fruition in a satisfactory manner.  She did but it tool me a while to realize that.

The ending is the slight bump in the road, the loose net in the ocean.  It had me a little puzzled, so much so that I needed clarification from the author as to what happened to Nils.  Turns out, I needn’t have worried but it was cloudy enough that others might feel the same way. Had there been a tad more clarity at the end this would have been a 5 star review.  As it is, it comes darn close. Without revealing too much, it turns out that both Nils and Sharouk’s fiance have much the same role to play at the end, and no, its not the one you think it is.  Luckily for us, there will be a sequel coming.  That was the best news yet.

Not familiar with Leona Carver?  Haven’t read No Ocean Too Deep?  Remedy both and grab this terrific tale up and start reading.  Be prepared to fall in love with these characters, their mission and the ocean deep.  It will be an amazing journey you won’t want to see end.

Cover by Tanya Rehulak.  I love this cover, so different and lovely.

 Buy Links:  Less Than Three Press   Amazon    ARe

 Book Details:

ebook, 174 pages
Published April 9th 2014 by Less Than Three Press LLC
original titleNo Ocean too Deep
ISBN139781620043448
edition languageEnglish
urlhttps://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-nooceantoodeep-1466468-153.html
seriesA Loose Screw

Author Spotlight: Leona Carver & her latest release, No Ocean Too Deep (Contest)

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No Ocean Too Deep by Leona Carver

Begzada Dastyaf, a warlord of the desert Amirate of Ujmah, descends into the deep sea to find his beloved prince and cousin, Sharouk. Not only must he navigate a strange new realm, but he must master an unfamiliar body and learn the ways of the folk who live within that dark and watery place … all while struggling with an unwanted attraction to his resentful sea folk guide, the witch Nils.

 

My name is Leona Carver and I’m here to talk about my new novella, “No Ocean Too Deep”, and the world in which it unfolds. I’m pleased to offer an e-copy of No Ocean Too Deep to give away.

Contest: To enter the draw, please leave a comment and an email address. The contest runs until midnight EDT June 1st, at which point I’ll draw a name from a bonafide hat.

  Where will duty and love take you?

The vastness of the ocean triggers a deep sense of awe. There are a myriad of ecosystems and flora, fauna, and in-between creatures (florauna?), and we know so little about it. Every week there’s some new discovery, an animal or a piece of footage of a place that had never been seen before. It is absolutely stunning. Immersing myself in that world both thrilled and challenged me, making No Ocean one of the most satisfying stories I’ve written.

I’m from the school of, “Write what you don’t know.” I find that I’m most passionate about those stories that challenge me, make me ask questions, make me fling out the long arm of imagination to grab at answers. Dastyaf and Nils travel in a place where there is very little light and the senses are both impaired and enhanced by the characteristics of the ocean. The challenge was to describe actions, emotions, and communication without the use of vision. I drew on research about the abilities of sharks to sense the electromagnetic fields of other animals, and had Dastyaf learn the language of scents and pheromones, which gives the sea folk a nearly telepathic ability to sense the thoughts and feelings of others. If I had had the word count at my disposal, I could have filled entire chapters with Dastyaf learning his new body.

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In addition to the difficulties of communicating in the sea, sans sight but with enhanced taste and skin receptors, that world adds another complexity: The entire place is alive. Tiny organisms exist everywhere, from harmful, to benign, to beneficial, and the culture of my sea folk needed to reflect that. They depend on their slimy coatings for protection; therefore, touching is limited and, when it does occur, it indicates a deep level of trust. Sea folk healers understand how some organisms can be used to fight malign organisms, how the deeper briny waters can be used to kill weaker microbes. Witches use that thick miasma of life to cast their magic, to the extreme of the leviathans, giant creatures built from the less-sentient organisms.

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The people were adapted to fit the environment, influenced by existing sea creatures. Sea folk come in all forms. The Angler Fish Deep Sisters: mighty huntresses wielding bait made of light, spiky with bone, their males little more than nubs and pustules attached to their skin. The Sirens: though they can be from any species, so long as they are witches, tend to be more vulnerable species. In No Ocean, they are delicate, translucent, highly venomous jellies, and their giant nautilus entombs a leviathan.

Environment is character: Active in the story, equipped with motivations and needs, acting on the other characters and reacting to what they do. In No Ocean, the environment is partially responsible for the existence of the leviathans. They would not be possible without the soup of microbes through which magic travels and acts on the world. When witches die, if they hold onto their lives strongly enough, the sea answers them and weaves them into herself. They are eaten away over time, losing more and more of themselves as their leviathan armour grows, until they become the silent, monstrous guardians of the ocean.

It was my intention to share my love of the ocean and all she holds, and create a new and interesting world to play in. Hopefully, this came through!

No Ocean was inspired by a simple prompt: Write a romance involving mecha. Somehow, that translated into organic armour built from corals, anemones, squids, fish, crabs, etc. Thankfully, Less Than Three Press went along with it. Because, once that seed was planted, it grew into a leviathan of its own. No Ocean Too Deep-Carver_Image 3There are deep seas, deserts, castles, a hostile Republic, and even a distant jungle nation to explore. No Ocean is only the beginning.

 

I’m currently working on the sequel, in which Dastyaf hunts for the ingredients needed by sea folk witches to maintain their sentience and fight their leviathan nature. Once that hurdle is overcome, he’ll need to deal with the Republic. Last we saw them, the Republic had rebuilt their fleet and commenced another invasion.

As well as the direct sequel, there will be a companion series beginning with The Clockwork Centurion. This will be another M/M fantasy/romance set in a Jules Verne-esque version of post-Roman Briton, with the heavier steampunk aspects that No Ocean Too Deep mostly missed out on, other than the Republic’s weaponry. Eventually, the characters from each series will meet and we’ll see what happens.

 

Sword fighting, probably. Topless sword fighting, if I have my way.

Leona Carver

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No Ocean Too Deep Carver_Cover

Book Blurb:

To buck the brutal rule of the Republic, Amirzade Sharouk and his men pull off a desperate plan: Destroying the Republic’s fleet by joining forces with the legendary sea folk, masters of the leviathans, immense living weapons born of the sea and magic.

Though the gamble succeeds, one of the leviathans vanishes with a valuable human, straining an already tenuous alliance. Her caretaker Nils needs to find her as quickly as possible to redeem himself before his superiors. His search is further burdened by Dastyaf, a furious human warlord and liability in the marine realm. But after combing the deep ocean and discovering the dangers it holds, Nils realizes he may need the human more than he thought, to save his mission and himself.

Buy Links:       Less Than Three Press          Amazon             Smashwords             ARe

Book Details:

ebook, 174 pages
Published April 9th 2014 by Less Than Three Press LLC
original title:No Ocean too Deep
ISBN139781620043448
edition languageEnglish
urlhttps://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-nooceantoodeep-1466468-153.html
series: A Loose Screw

Author Bio:

Leona Carver lurks in a Canadian basement with a cat and an aerospace engineer, one of whom helps with the science while the other scratches at the window to get out. She writes novels and short stories with a penchant for genre mash-ups—because fairy tales need space stations, historical romance needs steam powered cyborgs, merpeople should wear mecha, and all of the aforementioned need a little love. Or a lot of love.

Leona has published two M/M romances through Less Than Three Press: Piper, a space age version of the Pied Piper, and No Ocean Too Deep, a deep sea rescue with giant coral monsters and angry desert warriors.

Follow Leona Carver at: Leona can be rousted from her cave via email (leona.r.carver@gmail.com) or on her website (leonacarver.wordpress.com).

 

Author Book Tour and Contest: The Surgeon’s Apprentice by Richard Longfellow

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This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Richard will be awarding a $25 Amazon Gift Card to a randomly drawn commenter during the tour. Click here to see the other stops on the tour. Remember, the more stops you visit and comment, the better your chances to win. To be entered to win leave a comment below with an email address where you can be reached.


MBB_TheSurgeonsApprentice_CoverBannerAlex is a ditzy but adorable final-year medical student, whose sex life seems doomed to fantasies about Hollywood hunks and abuse and misuse of the mirror in his bedroom. Then along comes blond and blue-eyed Will, all sinewy muscles, a gorgeous face and a top orthopaedic surgeon to boot, but equally hopeless when it comes to love. Their first encounter in his clinic is almost ruined by an embarrassing incident with a pair of disposable briefs, but mutual attraction prevails and brings them together.
When ghosts from Will’s past threaten their future together and all looks lost, Alex devises a plan to save Will’s reputation.
But will love be enough to save the day and win Alex the man of his dreams? Or will he be doomed to eating his favorite apple crumble all alone-–with lashings of crème anglaise, of course.

Now enjoy an excerpt:

Alex sat outside Mr J’s office waiting to be called in. It had been raining heavily and his clothes were damp from the walk to the hospital. Thankfully, his pain receptors were no longer firing off whenever he moved and the bruises had turned a less alarming yellowy-brown. There was certainly nothing outward about him that would make Mr J know about the assault. And he planned to keep it that way, as it was basically his fault that he’d been beaten up.

The door opened. “Come on in, Alex. I’m sorry to have kept you waiting.

Alex followed Mr J and sat down next to him. He rummaged in his bag for his statement and placed it on the table in front of them for Mr J to read. It was a few pages long and Alex used the time to absorb details about the man next to him. He had a comforting, recently showered smell to him and his hair was still damp. His right ear had been pierced sometime in the past although the hole was closed up. His nose was straight and his nostrils flared sexily. He’d missed a few hairs above the Adam’s apple when shaving. Alex was mesmerized by the movements of his soft lips as he spoke. So much for moving on from his infatuation.

“Alex?” Mr J asked. He’d turned to look at him.

Alex blushed and hoped that Mr J hadn’t noticed anything. “Oh, I’m sorry, Mr Jackson. Where had we got to?”

“Alex, I was asking you what you found out at the pub.

“Oh yes. Okay, I met up with someone who knew me from when I worked behind the bar. She asked me what I’d been doing recently and I mentioned your name. She immediately recognised it and started talking about a regular in the pub who was alleging the wrong operation had been performed. She also mentioned he was suing the hospital for a six-figure sum. Did you know that?”

“I’m afraid so.”

“Anyway, she then talked about him coming into the pub on a crutch, but with the injured leg shifting from one to the other almost daily. To cap it all, she’d overheard a couple of his family planning the whole thing. So, she thinks he was putting it on.”

Alex was aware that Mr J was looking at him while he was speaking and he seemed to be examining his profile. He reddened again and felt strangely self-conscious.

Mr J cleared his throat. “So, Alex, putting the statements from you and my registrar together, what this adds up to is that Mr Peters could be pulling a fast one. But the fact that my registrar didn’t check your clerking makes things more difficult. On the other hand, what you turned up from your inquiries at the pub certainly suggests duplicity. But we can’t use that information directly as it is just hearsay. Quite frankly, I’m not sure why my registrar recommended the knee replacement anyway, as the osteoarthritic changes on X-ray are fairly minor. Still, he’s being discharged with outpatient physiotherapy and we’ll just have to see what the hospital makes of the whole picture.”<br /><br />

Mr J stood up. “I’m really grateful for all the work you’ve put into this, and particularly your bit of private investigation. I’ll definitely be recommending you for a commendation.”

“Gosh, thanks, Mr Jackson,” said Alex, thinking that’d be the first commendation he’d ever got in a surgical firm.

“Oh, Alex, there is one other thing,” Mr J said, just as Alex was about to open the door to leave.

“Yes?” asked Alex, his anxiety level climbing sky high.

Mr J was looking directly at him and he seemed to be smiling nervously. “I’m not sure how to say this, and the medical school would probably have kittens if they knew, but I’m going to say it anyway…” It was a pause of elephantine proportions. “…Alex, I’m wondering whether you’d like to go out for a drink.”

Alex was stunned. “You mean a coffee?”

“Whatever you like,” replied Mr J, his smile appearing more confident. “After all, I’m buying. We could have something to eat as well.”

There was a brief silence when they just looked at each other – and properly looking this time. “You don’t mean for a date, do you?” Alex asked, hardly daring to believe the turnaround from the despair and pain of the last couple of weeks.

“I hope so. If you don’t mind, of course. And the name’s Will, by the way.”

AuthorPicAuthor Bio:  Richard Longfellow resides in London, Great Britain and works as a doctor. He’s tall, dark and handsome, and currently unattached. When he’s not tending to his patients, he enjoys stroking his two cats, movies with happy endings and opening the very best champagne, although not necessarily in that order. His favourite male movie stars include Brad Pitt and Hugh Jackman. ‘The Surgeon’s Apprentice’ is his first novella of quintessentially British, gay erotica.

You can follow Richard Longfellow at:

Website
Twitter
Facebook

 

 

 

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Cover_The Surgeon's ApprenticeThe Surgeon’s Apprentice
by Richard Longfellow

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BLURB:

Alex is a ditzy but adorable final-year medical student, whose sex life seems doomed to fantasies about Hollywood hunks and abuse and misuse of the mirror in his bedroom. Then along comes blond and blue-eyed Will, all sinewy muscles, a gorgeous face and a top orthopaedic surgeon to boot, but equally hopeless when it comes to love. Their first encounter in his clinic is almost ruined by an embarrassing incident with a pair of disposable briefs, but mutual attraction prevails and brings them together.

When ghosts from Will’s past threaten their future together and all looks lost, Alex devises a plan to save Will’s reputation.

But will love be enough to save the day and win Alex the man of his dreams? Or will he be doomed to eating his favorite apple crumble all alone-–with lashings of crème anglaise, of course.

Additional Excerpt:

Alex sat outside Mr J’s office waiting to be called in. It had been raining heavily and his clothes were damp from the walk to the hospital. Thankfully, his pain receptors were no longer firing off whenever he moved and the bruises had turned a less alarming yellowy-brown. There was certainly nothing outward about him that would make Mr J know about the assault. And he planned to keep it that way, as it was basically his fault that he’d been beaten up.

The door opened. “Come on in, Alex. I’m sorry to have kept you waiting.”

Alex followed Mr J and sat down next to him. He rummaged in his bag for his statement and placed it on the table in front of them for Mr J to read. It was a few pages long and Alex used the time to absorb details about the man next to him. He had a comforting, recently showered smell to him and his hair was still damp. His right ear had been pierced sometime in the past although the hole was closed up. His nose was straight and his nostrils flared sexily. He’d missed a few hairs above the Adam’s apple when shaving. Alex was mesmerized by the movements of his soft lips as he spoke. So much for moving on from his infatuation.

“Alex?” Mr J asked. He’d turned to look at him.

Alex blushed and hoped that Mr J hadn’t noticed anything. “Oh, I’m sorry, Mr Jackson. Where had we got to?”

“Alex, I was asking you what you found out at the pub.”

“Oh yes. Okay, I met up with someone who knew me from when I worked behind the bar. She asked me what I’d been doing recently and I mentioned your name. She immediately recognised it and started talking about a regular in the pub who was alleging the wrong operation had been performed. She also mentioned he was suing the hospital for a six-figure sum. Did you know that?”

“I’m afraid so.”

“Anyway, she then talked about him coming into the pub on a crutch, but with the injured leg shifting from one to the other almost daily. To cap it all, she’d overheard a couple of his family planning the whole thing. So, she thinks he was putting it on.”

Alex was aware that Mr J was looking at him while he was speaking and he seemed to be examining his profile. He reddened again and felt strangely self-conscious.

Mr J cleared his throat. “So, Alex, putting the statements from you and my registrar together, what this adds up to is that Mr Peters could be pulling a fast one. But the fact that my registrar didn’t check your clerking makes things more difficult. On the other hand, what you turned up from your inquiries at the pub certainly suggests duplicity. But we can’t use that information directly as it is just hearsay. Quite frankly, I’m not sure why my registrar recommended the knee replacement anyway, as the osteoarthritic changes on X-ray are fairly minor. Still, he’s being discharged with outpatient physiotherapy and we’ll just have to see what the hospital makes of the whole picture.”

Mr J stood up. “I’m really grateful for all the work you’ve put into this, and particularly your bit of private investigation. I’ll definitely be recommending you for a commendation.”

“Gosh, thanks, Mr Jackson,” said Alex, thinking that’d be the first commendation he’d ever got in a surgical firm.

“Oh, Alex, there is one other thing,” Mr J said, just as Alex was about to open the door to leave.

“Yes?” asked Alex, his anxiety level climbing sky high.

Mr J was looking directly at him and he seemed to be smiling nervously. “I’m not sure how to say this, and the medical school would probably have kittens if they knew, but I’m going to say it anyway…” It was a pause of elephantine proportions. “…Alex, I’m wondering whether you’d like to go out for a drink.”

Alex was stunned. “You mean a coffee?”

“Whatever you like,” replied Mr J, his smile appearing more confident. “After all, I’m buying. We could have something to eat as well.”

There was a brief silence when they just looked at each other – and properly looking this time. “You don’t mean for a date, do you?” Alex asked, hardly daring to believe the turnaround from the despair and pain of the last couple of weeks.

“I hope so. If you don’t mind, of course. And the name’s Will, by the way.”

Cover Reveal for Amanda Young’s GWM: Wanted

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✍✍✍✍✍✍✍✍✍✍✍✍✍✍✍✍✍The Cover Reveal is Here!

GWM BadgeThe Wait is over!  

Look no further for the cover of Amanda Young’s latest release GWM Wanted!

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GWM_Wanted_Final6x9

Book Name: GWM Wanted
Details:
Cover Artist: Yoly Cortez, Cormar Covers
Publisher: Self-published
Blurb(s): Mark is still deeply in love with Sam, his partner of 15 years. He’s perfectly happy with their relationship, even if their sex life has grown a little stale lately. But when he begins to notice Sam’s gaze wandering toward other men, he fears that his younger lover may be losing interest in him.

Then Sam suddenly suggests they broaden their sexual horizons by inviting a third man into their bedroom. And Mark’s fears become almost certainty. He reluctantly agrees, willing to do whatever it takes to hold onto Sam. He’s willing to share his husband’s body if he must, so long as he retains his heart.

Together, they answer an ad in an online advertisement. The other man seems to be just what they’re looking for — handsome, hung, and only interested in no-strings-attached fun. But once the excitement begins they find out they’ve made a terrible mistake.

 

Author Name: Amanda Young

Author Bio: A bestselling author of erotic romance, Amanda Young penned her first love story at eighteen. Being pure rubbish, that novel was prompted deleted before it could traumatize innocent readers. After several years of honing of her craft, Amanda went on to receive her first publishing contract in 2006.

A vivid imagination enables Amanda to create provocative stories that push boundaries and dare readers to expand their comfort zones. Since she tends to write whatever strikes her fancy, her novels fall into many different subgenres. Among her available titles you’ll find contemporary and paranormal settings, heroes who fall all over the Kinsey scale, and the characters who love them.

Amanda Young lives in Virginia with her husband, daughter, and two pampered pooches. When she’s not writing, she can usually be found chasing after a mischievous toddler or daydreaming about the characters in her next book. She loves to hear from her readers, and can be found on Facebook and Twitter. Her website, http://www.amandayoung.org, is where you can find up-to-date information on all of Amanda’s current and upcoming releases.

You can contact Amanda Young at:

Tour Dates: May 21, 2014
Tour Stops: Love Bytes, My Fiction Nook, Kimi-Chan, Prism Book Alliance, Hearts on Fire, Elisa Rolle, Lee Brazil, Parker Williams, 3 Chicks After Dark, Havan Fellows, Gale Stanley, Sinfully Sexy, Mrs. Condit & Friends, MM Good Books, Becca Anne’s Book Reviews, Cate Ashwood, It’s Raining Men, Fallen Angel Reviews, Amanda C. Stone, Dawn’s Reading Nook, Iyana Jenna, Pants Off Review

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Contest:    Rafflecopter Code:
Rafflecopter Prize: $25 Amazon Gift CardWillPride
Book Buy Links for GWM Wanted:

All Romance Ebooks
Smashwords

 

On Tour with Amelia C. Gormley and Saugatuck Summer (contest)

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SaugatuckSummer_TourBanner(1)

Good morning all!  Amelia C. Gormley is here today talking about her latest release, Saugatuck Summer, a book that is truly an endeavor from the heart.

Good morning, Amelia!

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Hi, and welcome to the Saugatuck Summer blog tour! Thank you to Scattered Thoughts and Roque Words Reviews for hosting me today! SaugatuckSummer_150x300(2)

For those of you who have seen me talking about it on social media for the last nearly year and a half, you know that Saugatuck Summer was a labor of love far beyond what I would normally claim for one of my books. Of course I love them all, but Saugatuck Summer came from my very soul. Actually, I’m not certain it came from me at all.


Basically, here’s what happened: One day I was driving along, running errands, and Topher Carlisle whispered one line of dialogue in my ear. Just one. When I asked him what I was supposed to do with that, he promptly took over my brain for fifteen absolutely insane days and at the end I had the first draft of Saugatuck Summer.


Topher’s story of recovery, hope, making mistakes, and growing up just told itself, and the experience of being the conduit for that was at times grueling and heartbreaking, but also euphoric and wonderful. It was one of those experiences that, as a creator of some form of art, be it musical, visual, or literary, you have once or twice in a lifetime if you’re extraordinarily lucky, when you know you’re creating something magical. I’m not sure it will ever happen to me again, but I feel absolutely blessed that this book has come of it.


This week on the Saugatuck Summer blog tour, I’ll be sharing some bonus content from the book and a sneak peek at another upcoming book in the Saugatuck universe. I’ll also be having a heart-to-heart discussion with Marie Sexton about our experiences as adult children of alcoholics and how they translated into writing our ACOA characters from Saugatuck Summer and Family Man, giving you a peek at some of “Jace’s” art, and I’ll be sharing the  official Saugatuck Summer soundtrack from a brilliant singer/songwriter of my personal acquaintance, Casey Stratton.


And finally, all week long I’ll be asking trivia questions from Saugatuck Summer and this week’s blog tour articles, and each correct answer emailed to me offers you a chance to win your choice of any of my backlist titles!


So put on your sunscreen and let’s go!


Contest:    HOW TO WIN YOUR CHOICE OF ANY SINGLE BOOK FROM MY BACKLIST (all-in-one volumes not included):

Riptide Publishing Saugatuck Summer Book Tour:
At each stop along the blog tour I’ll be asking a trivia question from Saugatuck Summer. Yes, this means some familiarity with the book is required, whether you purchase a copy, have an ARC, or employ the Kindle or B&N lending programs. If you visit some of the other blog tour stops, you might also find the answer in some of the excerpts.


PLEASE DO NOT ANSWER IN THE COMMENTS. Instead, send the answer to me privately by using this contact form. Each response will enter you into the drawing and three winners will be picked. The more questions you answer, the more entries you get. You can choose from any of the following titles:
Inertia (Impulse, Book One)
Acceleration (Impulse, Book Two)
Velocity (Impulse, Book Three)

The Laird’s Forbidden Lover
An Inch at a Time (The Professor’s Rule #2)
Inch by Inch (The Professor’s Rule #3)

Every Inch of the Way (The Professor’s Rule #4)
To the Very Last Inch (The Professor’s Rule #5)
Strain

(Note:  Giving an Inch (The Professor’s Rule #1) is already available free at Riptide, and my pre-Saugatuck novella, The Field of Someone Else’s Dreams, is available for free at Amazon, All Romance eBooks, and elsewhere.)
Contest Rules and Prizes:  Again, please do not post your answer in the comments, but submit it to me privately.
To give people time to read and respond, the contest will remain open for one month after the release of Saugatuck Summer. It will close on June 19, and the drawing will be held on June 20.

Today’s Saugatuck Summer trivia question:
Chapter 16, what happens between Topher and Brendan to bring an end to their affair?

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SaugatuckSummer_500x750One summer can change everything.

Hi, I’m Topher Carlisle: twenty-one, pretty, and fabulous. At least, that’s what I keep telling myself. But let’s get real. Walking the fake-it-til-you-make-it road to independence and self-respect isn’t easy. Especially since my mom’s a deadbeat alcoholic, and most of my family expects me to turn out just as worthless. Oh, and I’m close to losing my college swimming scholarship, so let’s add “dropout” to the list.

My BFF has invited me to stay at her beach house on the shore of Lake Michigan. That’ll give me one summer to make money and figure out what I want to do with my life. So of course I decide to have an affair with my BFF’s married, closeted dad. Because that always works out.

Now I’m homeless, friendless, jobless. Worthless. Just like my family expects, right? Except there’s this great guy, Jace, who sees it differently. He’s got it all together in ways I can only dream of—he’s hot, creative, insightful, understanding. He seems to think I don’t give myself enough credit. And if I don’t watch out, I may start to believe him.
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Be sure to check out the Saugatuck Summer soundtrack by singer/songwriter Casey Stratton .

Author Bio: Amelia C. Gormley may seem like anyone else. But the truth is she sings in the shower, dances doing laundry, and writes blisteringly hot m/m erotic romance while her son is at school. When she’s not writing in her Pacific Northwest home, Amelia single-handedly juggles her husband, her son, their home, and the obstacles of life by turning into an everyday superhero. And that, she supposes, is just like anyone else.

You can contact Amelia on:

 

Books/Series:

In addition to the books/novellas listed above, check out Amelia C. Gormley’s author page at Riptide Publishing for more information and buy links for

Self-published Impulse Trilogy  (info at Amelia C. Gormley’s website)

The Professor’s Rule series, erotic novelettes co-written with Heidi Belleau and of course, at Riptide Publishing.

Saugatuck Summer, adult comtemporary fiction available now at Riptide Publishing.

 

Review: I Survived Seattle (Coming About #1) by J.K. Hogan

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

I Survived SeattleOnly his best friend’s wedding would make Justice Crawford leave the security of his home to fly across the country to Seattle to assume the best man duties that he has been given.  A  strange place, a schedule of events full of new people?  Just the beginning of a worst case scenario for Justice. Because  Justice is not only a deeply closeted gay Southern man but his social anxiety disorder and OCD make any new or strange situation problematic at best, a nightmare at its worst.  And this is definitely the worst that could happen.  That sometime during the festivities, Justice will be outed to the only friend he has ever known.

Sailor and charter boat captain Nic Valentine is returning home to Seattle from his father’s funeral when an attractive man literally falls into his lap when their plane hits some unexpected turbulence.  Eyes meet, attraction forms, a phone number is exchanged and then….nothing.  Cute guy disappears once Nic leaves the airplane in Seattle.  Nic is certain he will never see that man again but Fate and a wedding brings them together once more.

Justice has let his disorders and closeted status isolate him from society and a chance at love.  Nic’s past includes a closeted boyfriend that hurt him deeply and now he isn’t sure he wants to take another chance with a man who hides who he really is.  But sometimes love finds a way to bring the most unlikely of people together for their HEA.  Will Nic and Justice find the courage to take a chance on each other?

J.K. Hogan’s romantic tale, I Survived Seattle (Coming Ab0ut #1) has two opposite personality characters that meet cute on a plane.  A spate of turbulence, ok, a ton of turbulence throws Justice Crawford into the lap of one Nic Valentine during the flight.  A few words, a couple of flirtatious glances are exchanged and hopes are raised for a lite romcom.

But  initial impressions are often deceiving. One man is on the way to his best friend’s wedding, the other returning from his father’s funeral.  One has serious mental health issues and the other is grieving over his father’s loss.  Not exactly comedic fare and I am not sure the introduction works to frame out the depth of the problems and the complexities in store for both men once they land in Seattle.  But once that plane lands….this story really takes off.  Don’t you love it when that happens?

Justice Crawford is a man sinking under the weight of his problems.  When he was younger, the decision to come out to his parents, cost him home and family.  Only the support of a grandfather in a retirement home, enabled Justice to attend college and complete his degree.  The trauma of that situation forced Justice back into the closet and no one, not even Rory his best friend and only family, knew he was gay.  In addition to being closeted, Justice suffers from a social anxiety disorder and OCD.  Medication has helped but fear and his anxiety have kept Justice in a cage or closet of his own making along with his decision to hide his homosexuality.  Hogan makes this character delightfully easy to empathize with,even with his closeted status.  He is socially inept and closed off, and still we like him.  We see where his past and his anxiety have contributed to the fears he is letting dictate his life and we are able to understand him.

Nic Valentine is the much more genial and open of the two personalities.  He lives aboard his charter boat, accepts who he is and longs for a partner to complete his life.  Nic’s past includes a closeted boyfriend so we can understand Nic’s frustration with and uncertainty about pursuing a relationship with Justice.  Both men come complete with a pair of best friend/girl friends who support them and help their relationship along.  I liked them as well as I did the main characters.  Rory, the best friend, is a little more elusive a character.  It was hard to get a feel for him and that was important given the fact that Justice’s fear over losing him is central to his rationale for staying in the closet.  More of Rory or more of Rory and Justice’s past history would have solidified this element of the story.  And I am not certain how I feel about a certain character who seemed more of a plot device to boost Justice out of the closet than a real human being. Maybe he will grow on me if he returns in the sequel.

J.K. Hogan may reside in North Carolina but she has life on the water and Seattle down pat.  I loved the descriptions of Nic’s boat and the harbor in Seattle.  His carefully organized space and quarters sound realistic and attractive.  Did I want to be there on his boat?  Why yes I did.  I could feel the peacefulness and quiet that Justice felt when he stood on deck because Hogan’s descriptions were able to transport me there to stand next to him.

Another element of this story I appreciate was the degree of  authenticity in regard to Justice’s anxiety disorder and OCD.  There is no magic wand to make it all better.  Instead thee is an adjustment of medication, and long term visits with a therapist to help Justice lead a more normal life.  We get a better understanding of what can trigger anxiety attacks and exactly how that can incapacitate a person.  Like I stated, not exactly comedic fare.  But it works when developing a character that comes across as real instead of a stereotype.   And Justice feels as real as they come.

I Survived Seattle is the debut novel for J.K. Hogan and I found it to be a sweet, rewarding and totally endearing first jump for this author into the m/m romance genre.  From the title I anticipate this is but the first in a series.  Perhaps the next in line just might be the recently married but unhappy Rory? I can’t wait to find out.  But while we are waiting, grab up I Survived Seattle.  You are going to love Justice and Nic and their journey to their own HEA!

Cover art by Wilde City Press. The cover has a number of nice elements but I am not sure they work together to form a cohesive whole.  It’s a little murky but the font is nice as is the Seattle backdrop and inclusion of a boat.

 Book Details:

ebook, 161 pages
Published March 19th 2014 by Wilde City Press
ISBN139781925031911
edition languageEnglish
urlhttp://www.wildecity.com/books/gay-romance/i-survived-seattle/#.UzjYAfldWNE
seriesComing About #1

Buy Links:  Wilde City Press   Amazon   ARe

Into The Author Spotlight with Katey Hawthorne and her Fairy Compact Series

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spotlight on books

Fairy Bound cover

 

Into the Author Spotlight with Katey Hawthorne

 

I have asked author Katey Hawthorne to stop by today to talk about her Fairy stories and the end of the series, Fairy Bound. Katey has brought an entire set of the stories to giveaway as part of this blog. To enter to win, leave a comment and an email address where you can be contacted in the body of the comment. Contest ends 5/28.

Welcome, Katey, to ScatteredThoughtsandRogueWords. I love this universe you have invented for this series. Nothing quite like winged fairy sex….and the complications that ensue with human/fairy relationships….

 

 

Of Fairies and Men and the End of a Series

by Katey Hawthorne

 

There are some tropes in romance that I’m just not that into. I don’t mean that in the “these are so wrong/uninteresting no one should like them!” way, but in the “it’s just not my thing” way. Some of these, I’m really vocal about—other ones not so much. One of them happens to be forced bonding and/or magically destined lovers. It’s just not my bag.

 

But when I saw Miya Kressin’s prompt at the goodreads mmromance group’s Love is Always Write event a few years ago, I knew it had to be mine. It was about two men who had a lifelong bond and didn’t know why, one a fairy, one a human priest… and then it was wide open. Which, to me—and to Miya, as I suspected from her wording—was calling for a twist.

 

That first novella, The Dangers of Fairy Compacts, is still available as a free read at the group and from me. Life as a Fairy Thrall continued the journey for Aeron and Tam, taking them out of the mortal world and into Faerie. And with its release today, Fairy Bound brings their journey to forge their own bond to its conclusion.

 

Which makes me kind of sad, to be honest. I’m gonna miss them. The snarky fae boy. The sweet human cleric. Their house. The wingsex.

 

Yeah, you read that right. I said wingsex. It’s a thing.

 

But all good things must come to an end, right? Or at least a new beginning. Hopefully, Aeron and Tammas will be happy with theirs.

 

Life as a Fairy Thrall and Fairy Bound both contain beautiful artwork by the amazing Ruxandra Lache, and you can see thumbnails of those here at my site, along with soundtrack music.

Author Bio at Goodreads:

Hi! I’m Katey. I write superpowered and fantasy romance of an LGBTQ bent. I live at Superpowered Love — kateyhawthorne.com.

I know, I know, it looks like I don’t read anything here at GoodReads. But I do, I swear. My reviews and stuff are all over at my other GoodReads thingie, KV Taylor. Relevant shelves to Katey Hawthorne stuff:

Romance, LGBTQ, and
Comics, Graphic Novels, and Trade Paperbacks

Contact/Follow Katey Hawthorne at:

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

Fairy Compacts #1: The Dangers of Fairy Compacts
Fairy Compacts #2: Life as a Fairy Thrall
Fairy Compacts #3: Fairy Bound

FairyCompacts_largeLife as a Fairy ThrallFairy Bound cover

 

 

Review: Powerless (The Borders War #3) by S.A. McAuley

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

He was built to be invincible.

Powerless coverMerq Grayson and Armise Darcan return to the States, their mission to assassinate the remaining Committee members unfinished.  Why?  The President of the Revolution is in need of their services to protect the Revolution’s most important proponent for freedom, the President himself.  But all is not stable within the Revolution’s leadership and factions within are looking to supplant the President with another.

When the unthinkable happens and headquarters is breached,  relationships, friendships even old rivals are torn asunder.  In the wake of the devastation, Merq faces the ultimate of challenges and decisions forced on him by the very people he trusted. Armise, Simion and Neveed. And each with a different and explosive impact on Merq and his future with the Revolution.

When everything and everyone around Merq is falling apart or disappearing, it is only one man, Armise Darcan, that he wants at his side.  But Fate or something worse has other plans in store for Merq and Armise. Events are coming that neither man may survive, with or without each other.  What happens when the invincible turn out to be anything but invincible?

 

Powerful, intense and emotionally scorching….these are the words I would use to describe Powerless, the third story in the Borders War series by S.A. McAuley.  The complexity of and relationship between these two genetically modified warriors is only exceeded by the intrigue and deceit that McAuley has built into her elaborately layered plot.  And it all happens on a world that has been defiled, corrupted by three hundred years of war that has turned its seas into acid and its air into toxic clouds.  The author’s powerful world building elements are delivered in slivers of descriptions throughout the stories, that compiled,  present a stunning atmosphere of bleakness and despair in which these men live and operate.

With each story, S.A. McAuley offers up more of Merq and Armise’s back history.  In Powerless. we enter the story in February, Year 2539 Singapore—The Outposts. Merq Grayson is 15 and in the middle of Lim2—Limitation Elimination training needed to become a Peacekeeper.  The trials aren’t just arduous, they are deadly and only the strongest will survive.  And although Merq is a teenager in years, he is far older mentally and emotionally.  Already he is being stripped of his feelings and his humanity and he is aware of it happening.  Powerful stuff indeed because as we watch Merq’s younger self push himself to his physical limits we also see him internalize and hide his conflicting emotions. And as we read we are already aware of what that boy ultimately becomes…an almost invincible dehumanized soldier for the Revolution.

All of McAuley characters are such densely layered constructs, believable and flawed, even with all their genmod strengths and abilities.  They don’t know what they are capable of and neither does the reader.  It’s a gripping process of continual shocks and revelation that flows through all the stories, especially  this one.  What new discoveries are uncovered concerning their genmods?  What new insights into their pasts will surface with each treacherous twist and turn of McAuley’s intricate plot?  Will they be able to keep enough humanity to save each other and the rest of the world? Stellar questions all even as McAuley miserly doles out clues to the answers.

Merq Grayson is such a compelling and contradictory personality.  Although he appears so tough, almost superhuman in the first two stories, Powerless, starts the process of breaking him down into a person who is questioning everything about his life and his role in the  Revolution.  It’s painful and realistic.  And the scenes of Merq shattering (emotionally as well as physically)  are so vivid that McAuley makes his pain and fall almost visceral in its impact.

Armise Darcan is Merq’s equal in every way and he has to be to hold his own as a character and believable partner to such a warrior as Merq.  Armise has had as interesting an upbringing as Merq, although in different ways.  Both are genetically modified and yet Armise has held on to more of his humanity and ability to love than Merq.  How and why that is possible is also slowly coming to the surface in these stories too.

There will be no excerpts here as even the smallest paragraph might point to spoilers.  McAuley’s narrative is as paired down as the men themselves.  At times as stark as the landscape, it is fast paced and explosive as the Borders War reignite with horrible implications for the people we have come to know and the world population that still exists.  Some aspects of this story are absolutely chilling and the dread they conjure up for Merq and Armise as well as the future for all nations will be hard to dispel.

Some readers will ask if this is a romance and I am not sure how to answer them.  The connection and feelings between Merq and Armise are almost cellular in their need for each other. Love, yes, but at a level and intensity that speaks of blood and loss not flowers and hearts.   Romance can’t exist in this world and it doesn’t.  But a hard fought for love?  Even if they can’t say the word or even know if they trust each other? That you will find here at the core of this story and within the men themselves.  The only thing powerless about this book is the title.

One Breath, One Bullet (Borders War #1) and Dominant Predator (Borders War #2) were on my Best of 2013 list.  Now I add Powerless to this year’s list too.  This is an amazing series.  And with each new story, S.A. McAuley’s plot and her plans for Merq and Armise intensify and become more convoluted.  McAuley plans five books for this series.  The fourth book,  Falling One by One (Borders War #4), will be out later this year.  I, for one, can’t wait to see how where this talented author will take this series and these incredible characters next.

Cover art by Posh Gosh.  Strong cover, although I would wish for a little more of a science fiction feel to it.

Books in the Borders War series in the order they were written and should be read to understand the men and the universe building:

One Breathe, One Bullet (Borders War #1)
Dominant Predator (The Borders War, #2)
Powerless (The Borders War #3)
Falling One by One (The Borders War #4) to be released later on this year
Fifth Book as yet unnamed.

 Book Details:

ebook, 185 pages
Published March 28th 2014 by Totally Bound
ISBN139780857156839
edition languageEnglish
seriesThe Borders War #3

Buy Links:     Totally Bound Publications       Amazon        ARe

Author Spotlight: S.A. McAuley and her Men of War Guest Blog and Contest

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spotlight on books

Powerless cover

   

  ScatteredThoughtsandRogueWords

   Welcomes 

    S.A. McAuley, and her latest

release, Powerless(Borders War 3)

Contest:  S.A. McAuley has brought with her today one copy each of the first two books in the Borders War series (One Breath, One Bullet and Dominant Predator) to give away to one lucky reader.  To enter to win, please leave a comment with your email address where you can be reached at the end of this post.  Contest ends 5/28.

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The Illicit Rendezvous: To Dine with Merq and Armise or Not?

by S.A. McAuley

You know that question if you could invite anyone—fictional or real—to dinner, who would you invite? Well, Merq and Armise wouldn’t be on my short list. Okay, let’s be really honest, they wouldn’t even be on my long list.

I absolutely adore them, but at the same time, Merq Grayson and Armise Darcan scare the bejesus out of me. Merq in particular has very little connection to his own humanity, let alone anyone else’s, therefore he rarely considers the value of one life. Armise is the perfect killer and the only person he appears to have any interest in protecting is Merq—but even that’s not for sure. Both of them are battle-hardened and have an unflappable confidence in their own lethality.

I wouldn’t consider either of them to be inherently evil, though.

The world they live in is vastly different than ours. The ethical measures of what makes a person evil in our time—murder, lying, violence—are concepts that are blurred, at best, since the citizens of the year 2558 have been literally fighting for survival for over 300 years.

Both Merq and Armise have not only been raised in this world of perpetual war and class inequity, they’ve been trained since they were children (yes, literally kids) to be soldiers for their respective countries. They’ve never known real peace or stability. The family and friends they do have are relationships built on secrets and hidden motivations.

But that violence doesn’t fully define them either. It’s their inexplicable connection they can’t find a way to sever that keeps me writing on days when they and their world become overwhelming. It’s the bond they forge between the two of them—either because of their shared darkness or despite it—that makes them most interesting.

Almost tempting me to give them a dinner-and-drinks invite…

Almost.

S.A. McAuley

Powerless coverAbout Powerless:

He was built to be invincible.

Merq and Armise return to the States after their mission to assassinate the remaining Committee members only to find the leadership of the Revolution isn’t as stable as they had thought.

Outside forces come crashing down on a Revolution stronghold, leaving two of their soldiers gravely wounded. Merq’s history with his brothers in arms Simion and Neveed forces him into making decisions that will impact his future with the Revolution.

Merq has always identified as a soldier first. Always known who deserved his loyalty and who didn’t. But with the uncertainty surrounding the leadership of the Revolution, the mysterious disappearance of the jacquerie and increased activity with the PsychHAgs, Merq knows there are few people he can trust.

The only man Merq wants or needs at his side is Armise Darcan. But his reliance on his former enemy may be a miscalculation that will threaten everything Merq stands for.

Book Details:

ebook, 185 pages
Published March 28th 2014 by Totally Bound
ISBN139780857156839
edition languageEnglish
seriesThe Borders War #3

Buy Links    Totally Bound            Amazon               ARe

About The Borders War series:

The Borders War By S.A. McAuley

The world has only recently emerged from a three-hundred-year war which saw half of the world’s population wiped out and the rise of five superpowers. Despite the hundreds of millions who died, the Borders War was nearly bloodless because of the sonicrifle—weaponized sound waves, tuned to their highest frequency, and harnessed to kill.
Merq Grayson has known only war. He is an orphan, a skilled Peacemaker, soldier, and sniper. And it is his destiny to right the wrong created by his grandfather six generations removed—the man who invented the sonicbullet.
Armise Darcan is his enemy. A sniper and Dark Ops officer who fought for the People’s Republic of Singapore in the Borders War, Armise may be the only person on the planet strong enough to keep Merq from completing his mission.
Their loyalties are to conflicting countries and diverging agendas, and despite the very real threat to their lives if they’re discovered, Merq and Armise keep finding their way into each other’s beds. It is a drive which Merq is sure will kill him one day.
But how much time either of them has is questionable. As Opposition is pitted against Revolution, the Borders War reignites, and Merq and Armise have to decide where, and with whom, their real loyalties lie.

Books in the Borders War series in the order they were written and should be read to understand the men and the universe building:

One Breathe, One Bullet (Borders War #1)
Dominant Predator (The Borders War, #2)
Powerless (The Borders War #3)

One Breathe One BulletDominant Predator cover