A Paul B Review: Stranger in the Wizard’s Tower by Deric McNish

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Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Stranger in the Wizards TowerIn the land of Lanoran, wizards are beloved by the populace but feared by a warrior race called the Kou G’en.  Though they have a seat on the ruling council that is dominated by the wizards, the Kou G’en mistrust magic users.  A recent Earth college graduate is transported to this world and now must find a way to get back home.

Dustin started his trip to visit friends in upstate New York when he stops at an adult arcade.  While in one of the booths, he feels something caress him through what seems to be the Plexiglas separator between booths.  When he investigates, he pushes his way through the portal and lands in a dark room in what turns out to be another universe.

Athin is the apprentice to master wizard Arconduil.  While the master wizard thinks his young apprentice has a lot of potential, he thinks the boy is not concentrating on his studies.  While another apprentice, Mir, is visiting, they find a stranger in Arconduil’s castle.  Athin decides to help the young man find a way home, as he is responsible for bringing Dustin to Lanoran.  However, the master wizard has sealed the portal that Dustin used and they must find a new portal to get him back.

Rumors of another portal lead Arconduil to search for it before the Kou G’en can get to it.  What they do not know is that the military of the United States has already found this portal and has been exploring this new world.  With three competing forces trying to control the route between worlds, will Dustin ever make it back to New York?  Will he want to after spending his time with Athin?

I found this to be a very enjoyable read,  Deric McNish, an actor and professor of theater at Michigan State University, has crafted a book that could easily be turned into a screenplay.   None of the three major groups trust the other and it soon becomes an enemy of my enemy is my friend type situation.  The author has also set up possible sequels with both the ending of the book and also the epilogue.

The cover art by Damonza shows silhouettes of Dustin and Athin above the Lanoran marsh like setting.  There is a dragon flying between the silhouetted figures.  It is a decent cover but with “Wizard’s Tower” in the title, one might have expected the tower or castle in the cover.

Sales Links:  Amazon | Buy It Here

Book Details

Ebook, 283 pages
Published:  October 22, 2015 by Pyramus Press
ISBN:  978-0-9966329-3-5
Edition Language:  English

Series:  Wizard’s Tower (Goodreads link)

Stranger in the Wizard’s Tower (Wizard’s Tower #1)

A Stella Review: Betting on Forever (The Breakfast Club #2) by Felice Stevens

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Rating 5 stars out of 5       ★★★★★

Betting on Forever coverA weekend fling in Atlantic City couldn’t be more out of socially shy Zach Cohen’s comfort zone, but a bet with his best friends forces him to put aside the humiliation he’s hidden for years, stepping away from his computer screens and on-line world. When he meets Sam Stein, despite their spark, Zach expects nothing more than a night of passion and a kiss goodbye. Yet weeks later, he can’t keep the man out of his head. 

After a split second decision with tragic results ends his twenty year police career at the same time his relationship falls apart, Sam Stein is drifting through life. At his best friend’s urging he agrees to a trip to Atlantic City to clear his head. What Sam doesn’t plan on is meeting Zach Cohen, whose sweet nature and honesty has him thinking maybe he could move forward, until Zach leaves him without explanation, reinforcing Sam’s belief that people can’t be trusted.

Well-meaning friends refuse to let Zach and Sam hide from each other, forcing them to realize their weekend is much more than a one night stand. Before that can happen, Zach must come to terms with his past and stand up for his own independence, while Sam has to learn to take a chance and believe in himself and people again. All bets are off when dreams become reality and forever doesn’t seem to be long enough.

Betting on Forever is the second book in The Breakfast Club series by the amazing Felice Stevens. The first installment, Beyond the Surface, was a “second chance at love” story really well done, so you can imagine my joy when I get this new one. I can already tell you she didn’t disappoint me. To me it was another winner.

I was waiting for Zach’s story since the first time I met him. I was so curious to know what was behind his shyness and who was going to be the one to disclose the sweet boy he is as Zach has spent all his life feeling invisible. He has true friends in Marcus, Julian and Nick, but he keeps things from them too. It’s hard for Zach to trust people with his heart, he’s been hurt and humiliated by someone  who convinced him that he’s worthless. He prefers to hide behind his pc screen but now he’s going to Atlantic City for an important work-related convention,  and cheered up by a bet with his friends, he promises himself to be a different person during this weekend.

Sam is a private investigator, ex cop with a bad past behind him. He knows nothing about computers but he is forced to join his friend Henry at the convention, as a way to distract himself. When he meets Zach, it is soon lust at first sight, but Zach leaves the convention in a hurry and the date they had scheduled is postponed to… never. Or not?

I think one of the reason why I loved this story so much is that I was able to connect with Zach on so many levels. I knew his fears and the past/present duties he feels to the people he loves. It was hard to follow him in his struggles with his mother and his life in general but it was never sad. Felice did a great work with this story, because it’s full of  positivity and happiness. It’s sweet, just as I like it. She surrounded Zach and Sam with some amazing friends and parents. Supportive, caring but ready to kick their asses.

I loved the writing, the dialogues were all so easy and real. It was a pleasure to read Betting on Forever, see these boys get their finally deserved HEA and get some of their issues solved. I was soon drawn in their relationship, they completed each other so beautifully, it really seemed they were the missing pieces in the other’s life. It was easy but at times it was really emotional, especially in a couple of touching scenes. And I was happy I was able to see more about Julian and Nick together, Felice fulfilled my wish.

I want to highly recommend Betting on Forever to everyone who’s looking for a feel good story, sweet and with characters with an age gap between them (not too much), this book is for you. If you read anything else by the author you already know how talented she is. If she is a new author to you, here is a perfect story to give her a chance. This book could be simply read as a standalone but don’t miss the first one too.

I can’t wait for Marcus story!

Cover art by Reese Dante. This artist is became a guarantee. Her covers are always well done and fitting. In this case too, the scene on the beach depicted on the cover is one of my favorite in the book.

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

Book Details:

Expected publication: November 17th 2015
Edition Language English

The Breakfast Club series

Beyond the Surface #1 (my review here )
Betting on Forever #2

A Delicious & Special Look at Havan Fellows & Lee Brazil’s ‘Heart on the Run’ (guest post, excerpt and giveaway)

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Beacon Hill, Boston in snow.

Heart on the Run ( Hearts of Parkerburg #2) by Lee Brazil & Havan Fellows
Release Date: November 16, 2015
Goodreads Link

Publisher: Appleton Publishing Avenue
Cover Artist: Author.Services

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words was expecting Havan Fellows and Lee Brazil today but there seems to be a mixup!  Look who arrived along with them, its Sprocket and Chaz from Heart on the Run for a very special and delicious post!  Good morning you two and welcome to Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words.

Sprocket: Hey there…come on in, don’t be shy, god knows I’m not. *Sprocket smiles and ushers everyone in* For those that might not know me (which is pretty much everyone), my name is Sprocket Moretti. I’m a spunky twenty-three year old that attends college and works at Craft Time—a craft and fabric store in the heart of Parkerburg, right next to the finest dining establishment in the state, Alimentaire. That’s where I met Chaz *Sprocket sighs as he stares at the hot ginger in the corner of the kitchen bent over the counter with a bowl and whisk in his hands* one extremely talented sous chef, with a great ass.

Chaz: *glances over shoulder and blushes* Aw… C’mon Sprocket! How can I cook with you saying things like that?

Sprocket: Like what?

Chaz: Like things that make me want to run over there and jump you to show you how much I appreciate you.

Sprocket: Don’t let me stop you…

Chaz and I are here today because, well Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words rocks—not just because the name is awesome, either. And when we found out that our book tour for Heart on the Run would start off here…well hell, we had to do something special… There is nothing more special than Chaz and his terrific holiday recipes.

Chaz: They can’t have my recipes. Recipes are like gold in the restaurant business, Sprocket.

Sprocket: Oh come on, honey…just something small to nibble on…maybe a holiday themed something that would melt in my mouth?

Chaz: *gulps and blows hair out of his eyes* For real? I have something that would melt in your mouth…but I’m not giving them the recipe.

Sprocket: *wraps his arms around Chaz* That’s a recipe I won’t share with anyone.

Lee: Havan… I think it’s time to pull the curtain before we surpass ST&RW’s rating. Maybe we could give them our favorite Christmas cookie recipes and call it good?

Havan: *tears eyes away from PG-rated petting working it’s way to R rated fondling* oh…um…sure, you can share cookie recipes…can I be on the other side of the curtain, though?

Lee: No! You can’t be behind the curtain. Give the nice people that chocolate and pumpkin recipe thing you have. Here’s one of my holiday favorites from Lick the bowl Good.

Pecan Pie Mini-Muffins

1 cup chopped pecans

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1 cup packed brown sugar

2/3 cup butter, melted

2 eggs

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Combine all ingredients in a medium bow and mix well.

Spray a miniature muffin tin with non-stick cooking spray.(The spray with flour in it works best!) Fill each indention 3/4 of the way full.

Bake in preheated oven for approx 18 minutes.

Havan: Fine…I’ll stay here and bake with you…wanna make this a game of strip baking? *waggles*

Lee: *facepalm*

Havan: hehe, only reason you don’t wanna play is because you’ve got more ingredients than me…

Okay, time for my pumpkin muffins. This is a recipe that I’ve been making for many years now, and it’s actually flown all over the internet also–though I started making them before they became so famous, really. It’s true, because I suck at cooking/baking and these are only 2 ingredients—not even I can screw them up…*whispers* even though I have screwed them up…don’t ask.

Pumpkin muffins (Sprocket loves these)

1 box of cake mix (faves are spice cake & devil’s food cake)

1 can of pumpkin (not pumpkin pie mix)

That’s it…mix those two together, plop it in the muffin tins, bake at um…well…I just keep an eye on them and a box of toothpicks near the oven. Did I mention I’m not a real baker?

Mix-ins: pecans, chocolate chips (especially if you use the spice cake mix), or cinnamon chips, they all are yummy 🙂

Just remember, the most important thing is to not burn down the house while baking…or set off any of the smoke alarms. 🙂

Thank you Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words for having us today.

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Blurb

Charles Darwin Millsworth, Chaz to one and all since infancy, has no wish to live up to the grandeur of his name. Fortunately, his Southern belle mama isn’t at all inclined to push her son into a career that won’t make him happy. She thinks he needs to loosen up and enjoy life. After all, that’s the whole point of being independently wealthy, isn’t it?

Chaz can see her point, but his father died in his forties as did his father before him. As far as Chaz is concerned, he has limited time on this earth to make his dreams come true. And he refuses to leave anyone weeping over a wasted life.

Sprocket Moretti is a simple guy. He loves his job, enjoys college, lives in his beloved childhood home—why worry about the little things when the big stuff looks so good. Unfortunately one of the little things he tries not to stress over is a broken friendship with a very hot and bewildering sous chef. They were pals, hung out and had fun. But one night they stepped over that invisible line, and the next morning Chaz kicked Sprocket out of his bed and his life.

Now, no matter how much Sprocket tries to charm Chaz, the guy has no desire to return to their pre-sex playful bantering ways. And if Sprocket stays true to his motto, this little thing—Chaz—should be written off and never worried about again.

If Sprocket had known one night of reality altering orgasms would endanger their easygoing friendship… How do you finish that sentence when all your mind wants is its friend back and all your body wants is another taste?

 

Pages or Words: 59,000 words

Beacon Hill, Boston in snow.

Beacon Hill, Boston in snow.


Categories: Contemporary, M/M Romance, Holiday

 

Excerpt

Sprocket grabbed the grande hot chocolates—with a dash of his favorite flavoring, pecan—and reached the gazebo with five minutes to spare, per the clock tower.

He set the drinks on the bench of the gazebo so he could spread the blanket across the floor.

“Wow, that’s a huge blanket,” Chaz stated as he took the three step up to stand at the edge of it.

“Never took you for a size queen.” Sprocket winked as he handed him a cup of steaming goodness. “So, what’s for lunch?”

“Oh, well…” Chaz held the basket close to his chest as he slipped off his shoes and situated himself in the middle of the blanket. “Not much.” He pulled a thermos from the basket. “I made homemade tomato soup and chicken salad sandwiches.” He set the thermos down and pulled out wrapped sandwiches, a bag of croutons, a plastic bowl with a translucent red lid, and a small stack of china dishes in rapid succession.

“My grandma used to make me tomato soup and grilled cheese all the time. Except she’d actually grill the cheese before putting it on the sourdough toast. I tried to make it once…didn’t end so well.” He laughed as he shook his head, settling down next to Chaz on the blanket.

“But I’ve heard you and Mason talk; you cook most of the time between the two of you.”

Sprocket accepted the sandwich handed to him and nodded. “Yep. Well you know, we both can cook, but neither of us gets much fun out of it.” He unwrapped the sandwich and picked up half, biting into it. He couldn’t suppress his moan. Damn that was good, and Chaz put nuts in it for crunch, walnuts and pecans. How did he know pecans were Sprocket’s favorite? A part of him wanted to believe maybe Chaz had asked around. Anyone in Craft Time would know and Prudence did too.

Not that it mattered either way. Nothing strange about a friend—and only a friend—knowing something as mundane as that. He quickly chewed and swallowed. “And we definitely don’t do fancy. Unless you count roast, but even then I sprinkle the seasoning on it and throw it in the oven. No fuss, no muss.”

With his next bite, something popped in his mouth, making him want to gag. He held it back, and while Chaz gazed out over the park at the kids running in the playground Sprocket lifted the toast to see what he bit into. Grapes. He grimaced as he quickly plucked the halved grapes out of the salad and dropped them on the napkin by his leg.

“You don’t like grapes?”

Sprocket jumped. Fuck…busted. “I like them fine. I like them right off the vine, frozen, even mashed up as wine…don’t like them so much with seeds, though.”

“Or in a sandwich, apparently.” Chaz noted, gesturing to the evidence on the blanket between them.

“Well…” Sprocket jammed the rest of the sandwich in his mouth and chewed slowly, biding himself some time. While he was trying to break down the enormous amount of food in his mouth, he grabbed the other half of the sandwich and proceeded to pick the grapes out of that also.

Chaz raised an eyebrow at him, and he shrugged. He’d already been caught, no use faking it up now.

Reaching over, Chaz snatched Sprocket’s wrist and guided it to his mouth. Sprocket gulped the food in his mouth down, his stomach somersaulting either from the partially chewed lump it just received or because of the man sitting across from him on the blanket.

This wasn’t what friends did. Friends didn’t use their friend’s fingers as utensils. Still, he probably could’ve gotten past this moment if there hadn’t been a smidge of mayonnaise on the tip of his nail. Chaz spotted it, and while staring Sprocket in the eye, he put that spot right in front of his mouth. They sat like that for an eternity. Sprocket could feel his heart pounding fast, wondered if his pulse alerted Chaz to his extreme interest in the man’s next move.

He wanted to shout at Chaz to lick him. Do it now. Put him out of his misery. There was nothing Sprocket wanted more than to experience the wetness of Chaz’s tongue as it cleaned the white stuff from his finger. That was a lie. Sprocket wanted them to make more white stuff that had to be cleaned off, the kind you couldn’t purchase in a store. Well, maybe you could purchase it…but he really didn’t want his brain to go off on that tangent.

Finally—finally!—Chaz licked the condiment off. Before he could move back and call an end to this little episode, Sprocket broke free of his grip and hooked his hand behind the other man’s neck, holding him there, unable to move away.

When their lips met, it wasn’t gentle and coaxing. Sprocket wasn’t in that kind of mood. He wanted bad and he wanted now. Fuck friends. That whole concept was overrated if it kept him up all night in need. Anyway, this wasn’t his fault. Chaz started this shit; Sprocket would finish it.

And this time, he’d be better prepared. When Chaz kicked him the fuck out of his life, it wouldn’t tear him apart. Because no matter what, he’d make sure there wasn’t a spot in his heart for Chaz. Sprocket willingly would give up half his bed for the man, but nothing more.

While diving his tongue in Chaz’s mouth—reaching far enough back he could say with great certainty Chaz no longer had tonsils—Sprocket damn near convinced himself that he could do that, too.

Then Chaz whimpered, his hand pressing against Sprocket’s chest, right over his heart, and Sprocket knew he was a goner.

Buy the book:  Smashwords | All Romance (ARe) | Amazon

 

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Meet the Authors

Lee Brazil:

Somewhere in a small town in up-state New York are a librarian and a second grade teacher to whom I owe my life. That might be a touch dramatic, but it’s nevertheless one hundred percent true.

Because they taught me the joy of reading, of escaping into worlds crafted of words.

Have you ever been nine years old and sure of nothing so much as that you don’t belong? Looked at the world from behind glasses, and wondered why you don’t fit?

Someone hands you a book, and then you turn the page and see… There you are, running from Injun Joe in a dark graveyard; there you are fencing with Athos; there you are…beneath the deep blue sea- marveling at exotic creatures with Captain Nemo.

I found myself between the pages of books, and that is why I write now. It’s why I taught English and literature for so many years, and it’s why my house contains more pounds of books than furniture.

If I’d had my way, I’d have been a fencer…or a starship captain, or a lawyer, or a detective solving crimes. But instead, I am a writer, and I’ve come to realize that’s the best thing in the world to be, because as a writer, I can be all those things and more.

If I hadn’t learned to value the stories between the pages, who knows what would have happened? Certainly not college…teaching…or writing.

Havan Fellows:

I annoy, love, respect, scare, seduce, hurt, anger, infatuate, frustrate, flatter, envy, amuse and tolerate everyone. I just do it better in writing thanks to a little thing called…edits.

Okay no, seriously…I’m a simpleminded person who enjoys the escape from real life through a book. I write with the group Story Orgy and hope to continue doing so for a long time. I also am privileged to be with the Pulp Friction writers, creating intermingling books in a world all our own.

I recently took the drastic step of quitting my EDJ (evil day job) and am now living in the gorgeous desert in Arizona making a go at this writing stuff full time…and I can’t see me regretting this decision ever.

Just like every other red-blooded human—I get a little bouncy when I get mail (any kind too…email, comments, private messages…you wanna do it, do it with me *winks*). So feel free to drop me a line—whether it’s on my blog, twitter, PInterest, or you track me down on FaceBook or Google +…it’s easy to catch someone who wants to be caught.

 

Where to find the authors:

Lee Brazil:

 

Havan Fellows:

 

 


Tour Dates & Stops:

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Giveaway

Enter to win a Rafflecopter prize of Rafflecopter Prize: Kindle Fire with books from Havan Fellows & Lee Brazil.  Must be 18 years of age or older to enter.  Link and prizes provided by the authors and Pride Promotions.

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Author Spotlight: Lynn Lorenz on Diversity in Characters & ‘Silent Lodge’ (The Company of Men Series) (guest, post,series excerpts and giveaway)

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In the Company of Men #5 book cover

Author Name: Lynn Lorenz
Book Names: The Mercenary’s Tale, Jackson’s Pride,
Baymore’s Heir, His Duke’s Gift
Series: In The Company of Men,Books: One through Five
Release Date: September 2015 – December 2015

Goodreads Link
Publisher: Hartwood Publishing
Cover Artist: Georgia Woods

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to have Lynn Lorenz here this morning to talk about her series The Company of Men, her latest novel in that series, Silent Lodge, and give us some insight into her stories with a post on ‘Diversity in Characters’.  Welcome, Lynn. we are delighted to have you here.

~

Baymores_Heir-Lynn_Lorenz-500x800His_Dukes_Gift-Lynn_Lorenz-500x800Jacksons_Pride-Lynn_Lorenz-500x800The_Mercenarys_Tale-Lynn_Lorenz-500x800

 

Diversity in Characters by Lynn Lorenz

Diversity doesn’t just mean having character with different races. It means having characters who have mental illness and struggle with it everyday, like Will in Jackson’s Pride and Baymore’s Heir.

And in Silent Lodge, Arvel, the young man who tends the lodge, is both mute and deaf. He doesn’t have the use of our modern sign language, and because of losing his hearing at as a child, any sounds he can make are not by any means words.

~*~

The fork to the left disappeared around a copse of trees, the one on the right headed straight, through flat fields.

From a distance, a shout echoed. He snapped his head up, turning so he could hear the direction. For a long moment, silence. Then another shout, this time louder.

The road ahead was empty for miles. It had to come from the left, toward the lodge.

He kicked his heels into the mare and urged her down the narrow lane. She broke into a trot, and they rounded the curve.

Ahead, a group of young men had another man surrounded.

Thieves? Villains?

They looked clean enough, but the hatred and disgust on their faces couldn’t hide their intent. All of them were large young men, but the man they’d turned their anger on was only half their size in height and weight. Truly an unfair fight if he’d ever seen one.

One of the men stepped out of the circle and kicked the legs out from under the man. He fell onto his back, his hands going up to protect his face. His attacker moved in, fists clenched, as the others goaded him on with shouts and curses.

Peter shouted, “Ho! What’s this?” and jerked his steed to a stop. He leaped off and strode forward as he pulled his sword.

“None of your business, now, is it?” one of the men called over his shoulder. The others shifted to one side, opening the circle and exposing the man on the ground.

“Get away from him!” Peter advanced. “Is this fair? Six men against one?”

Their faces flashed shame, except for the one still standing over the downed man. His look of hatred and anger hadn’t changed.

“You! Step away from him.” Peter stepped into the middle of the group.

The man blocked his way, red faced and frowning. “Who are you?” he barked. “This is none of your affair.”

“Who I am is none of your affair, but I won’t allow such villainy.”

At the flourish of Peter’s sword, the man backed down.

“Now, get along with you. Go on. I don’t know what this man has done, nor do I care. If it’s a matter for your village elders, let’s bring him before them. If not, then be on your way.”

The crowd moved farther away, leaving a gap between the attacker and themselves. Clearly, they were only following their leader. The man looked from them to Peter as if deciding his next course of action.

He pointed at the man on the ground. “Next time I catch you, no one will be around to save you.” He spat at the man, then strode to his companions.

They circled around him, absorbing him in their midst, and then without another look at Peter they fled.

~*~

So how does this affect Arvel? As you might think, he’s bullied by the other young men in the nearby village, to the point of fearing for his life. From being pushed, spit on, and cursed at, to being beaten, almost to death, Arvel has spent most of his life being punished for something he has no control over.

So he hides at the lodge, which Duke Logan’s father owns. Logan knows of the young man, and has allowed him to live there, caring for it, more for Arvel’s protection, than Logan’s need.

When I wrote this character it was easy to fall into thinking about Arvel’s thoughts and actions in respect to our world. But Arvel doesn’t know sign language other than a few rudimentary signs, like putting food in his mouth, or mimicking motions to describe things.

Also, his internal thoughts can’t be written like anyone else’s because his frame of reference isn’t built around language, but around the natural world around him. How he describes colors, for instance.

~*~

“I won’t hurt you.”

A pink tongue licked pinker lips. He blew a great breath, and strands of red hair flew up and away from his face.

He nodded.

“I’m going to get off now. Are you well?”

Another nod.

Peter shifted, got to his feet, and offered his hand.

The man took it, and Peter pulled him to his feet. He came up to Peter’s shoulder. Peter fought the urge to push the man’s hair from his face and pick the leaves from it.

Strange.

“What’s your name?” He softened his tone.

Arvel tilted his head, inspecting the man’s face with the intensity of a hawk. It warmed him all over to look at this man, just like his Heart did.

But was he a friend? Would he be safe?

Something about the man made Arvel trust him.

He pushed the hair out of his face, then squatted and wrote his name in the dirt with his finger, as he’d been taught long ago.

“Arvel? Is that your name?” Something about that name sounded familiar.

The man nodded and gave him a shy smile.

“I’m Peter.” He pointed to his chest and squatted down to write his name just as the younger man had, in the dirt of the road.

Arvel watched him, then nodded.

“Are you hurt?”

Arvel got to his feet and brushed off his breeches and tunic. He extended his hand toward Peter, those lavender eyes glancing up and down Peter’s body.

Peter took the offered hand in his. Small, delicate. If he didn’t know this was a man, he’d have sworn the hand belonged to a woman. Everything about Arvel spoke of gentleness, delicacy, and grace.

But he still hadn’t said a word, just stared hard at Peter as if absorbing every word he’d spoken.

“Well. Can I escort you to your home in case the others come back?” Peter moved away and gathered his horse’s reins as she grazed along the side of the lane.

Arvel cocked his head and twisted his lips to the side.

Too many words at once and his lips moved too fast.

Arvel waited for the man to speak again.

Peter shrugged. It seemed the young man didn’t want his help. He climbed into the saddle as his mare grunted and tossed her head at the tightening of her bit. He gave Arvel a wave and turned the horse back to the lane. He needed to find the lodge before dark fell.

The young man ran forward and caught his boot. Peter looked down into Arvel’s upturned face, and his memory snapped into place. The caretaker of Marden Lodge?

Arvel mouthed his thanks as his hand clenched tightly on to Peter’s leg, pulling at him, willing him not to go. To stay.

He glanced down the road. The others might come back again to hurt him. They rarely gave up. He should never have left the safety of the lodge, his home, not even for the supplies he’d needed.

Not without someone to protect him.

Like this man.

“What is it? Can’t you speak?”

He shook his head and touched his fingers to his mouth, then to his ear and shook his head.

“You can’t speak or hear?” Peter’s eyes widened; then anger flooded him. Those bastards had not only attacked a man alone, unarmed, and outnumbered, they’d attacked someone deaf and mute. Had they no honor?

~*~

I couldn’t have him sounding like an idiot, because he’s not. In fact, Arvel is very clever and knows his own mind. He knows what he wants and how to get it. So his internal thoughts had to be simple in language, relating to his world, and show his humor.

Also, some might say I did too much head-hopping, but for this story, I wanted Arvel’s reactions to the action around him integrated into the story, like dialogue. Because he can’t speak, only motion with his face, body and hands, we don’t know what he’s thinking most of the time, and neither do the characters.

I hope it doesn’t bother you too much, but it’s how I thought the books should be written, and my editors agreed.

~*~

I hope you’ll give my medieval men a chance. You can find my books on my website. And of course, on Amazon, ARe, and all the other retailers.

And I’d like to thank you for hosting me on your blog!

Blurb(s)

The_Mercenarys_Tale-Lynn_Lorenz-500x800The Mercenary’s Tale – Drake is a mercenary for hire. He values little other than his sword and his skill. Fighting his attraction to the young men he trains, he refuses to take any on. When Ansel walks into his life, Drake breaks all his rules.
But life for mercenaries is hard, brutal and deadly.
Can Drake take a chance on finding the love he’s denied himself for so long?
Can he have a second chance?

Jackson’s Pride – Jackson has been called to attend his father, Lord Baymore. The man has never claimed Jackson Jacksons_Pride-Lynn_Lorenz-500x800as his son and Jackson believes this might be his father’s intent. He’s left the Duke of Marden’s employ to discover his destiny—to remain a nameless bastard or to claim his father’s name.
When Jackson stumbles across a man, stripped, beaten, and left in a field to die a slow death, Jackson rescues the man. After all, he’s guilty of the same thing—wanting a man.
Will Holcombe gambled and lost. His meeting with a young, willing man went horribly wrong, and now he must pay for it with his life.
Until a man walks up to him in a frozen field and cuts him down.
Jackson is like no one Will has ever met before—a man strong enough to stand with him, perhaps forever.
But Jackson’s on a mission. Will his pride blind him to what his life could be if he chose Will and not his father?
Or will his pride lead him to a fate worse than death?

Baymores_Heir-Lynn_Lorenz-500x800Baymore’s Heir – Duke Jackson of Baymore finally has all he’s ever wanted—his name, a title, and the man he loves by his side. Lord Will Holcombe couldn’t be happier. He’s Jackson’s lover, best friend, and manages all of Jackson’s affairs. For two years, their life together, although deadly if anyone knew of their forbidden love, has been perfect.
Until Jackson the day when decides the one thing he needs is an heir.
And the one person to find him a wife is Will.

Silent Lodge – Drake and Logan are worried about their friend and captain of the guard, Peter. After the death in In the Company of Men #5 book coverchildbirth of Peter’s wife, he’s a changed man. Unfocused, lonely, and devastated, Peter needs a new challenge, instead of going through the motions of living.

Logan sends Peter on a mission – to discover Duke Weathersby’s plans for invasion. Logan’s father has a small hunting lodge near the border of their lands, and it has a caretaker. Peter sets off alone, to make camp at the lodge and do some scouting.

But what he finds at the lodge just may be his future. Arvel is a fascinating young man. Red haired, deaf and mute from a fever as a child, he’s been living in the lodge and caring for it for years. It’s a safe haven for him. But he’s not alone. He has a protector, Gareth.

When Gareth, Arvel and Peter are together, sparks fly. Arvel belongs to Gareth, but he wants Peter too. Can Peter join their small family? And if he does, will he always be the third to their couple?

His_Dukes_Gift-Lynn_Lorenz-500x800His Duke’s Gift – In this Yuletide story, Duke Logan is preparing the keep for the holiday. Twelve nights of feasting and gift giving to those in his favor. Gifts must be made or bought. Once mercenary Drake struggles to think of just the right gift for his love and liege, and for their sons.

Something isn’t right. A stranger has arrived at the keep and Logan refuses to let Drake into his bedroom at night. Angry and frustrated, Drake fears Logan has lost his love for the mercenary.

When the Twelfth night arrives, and Drake has received no gift, he begins to think he might need to take his son and leave what has become his home.

 

Pages or Words: Varies by book
Categories: Historical, M/M Romance

 

Excerpt (NSFW)

Ansel lowered himself with effort to the ground and leaned back on his saddle. From across the fire I could tell he still ached. I rummaged in my saddlebag and found the vial of oil I used to keep my leathers supple. It would work for Ansel’s back.

“That’s enough moaning from you. Take off your shirt and stretch out; I’m giving you a rubdown before you become so stiff you can’t move.” It came out more like an order, and Ansel obeyed.

He unlaced his leather vest, removed it, and then with careful motions, pulled his shirt over his head. Smooth chest met my gaze, lean muscles and wide shoulders. Dark hair trailed down his stomach to disappear beneath the strings of his breeches.

“Lay on your belly.” It was not the wisest thing I’d ever done, but I couldn’t seem to stop myself. In truth, I wanted to touch him.

He stretched out on his cloak, his smooth broad back to me, arms over his head. There were no scars on his back or on his chest. Hidden scars, indeed.

By clicking here you agree that you are 18 or over to finish reading the NSFW excerpt.

 

Buy the book:

 

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Meet the Author

Lynn Lorenz is an award-winning and best-selling author of over 30 gay romances. She lives in Texas, where she’s a fan of all things Texan, like Longhorns, big hair, and cowboys in tight jeans. She’s never met a comma she didn’t like, and enjoys editing and brainstorming with other writers. Lynn spends most of her time writing about hot sex with even hotter heroes, plot twists, werewolves, and medieval swashbucklers. She’s currently at work on her latest book, making herself giggle and blush, and avoiding all the housework.

 

Where to find the author:

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Tour Dates & Stops:

10-Nov: Elin Gregory, BFD Book Blog

12-Nov: Up All Night, Read All Day, Tara Lain

17-Nov: Divine Magazine, Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words

19-Nov: Molly Lolly

24-Nov: Velvet Panic, Havan Fellows, Inked Rainbow Reads

26-Nov: Lee Brazil, Jessie G. Books

1-Dec: Love Bytes, The Novel Approach

3-Dec: Bayou Book Junkie, MM Good Book Reviews

Final

Giveaway

Enter to win a Rafflecopter Prize: E-copy of any book from any of Lynn’s series.  Must be 18 years of age or older to enter.  Links and prizes provided by the author and Pride Promotions.
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A Special Inside Look at ‘Y Negative’ by Kelly Haworth (Guest Post on Genetics, and Giveaway)

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Y Negative cover

Y Negative by Kelly Haworth
P
ublished by Riptide Publishing
Cover art by Jay Aheer

Buy it here at Riptide Publishing

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to welcome Kelly Haworth here today to talk to us about her  latest novel Y Negative and give us a little insight into the inspiration and science inside the story. Welcome, Kelly.

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Hi guys!  I’m Kelly Haworth here with my debut release Y NEGATIVE.  At various stops on this book tour, I’ll be sharing with you what it’s like to live in Ember’s world: where mascs rule and a guy’s gotta fight for his right to live and love freely.  Posts will range from what the difference between a masc and an andro is, to what on earth a guy does for fun in a dystopia.  Hope you come along for this in-depth look. You’ll also have a chance to win a $20 Riptide voucher!

Please follow the tour to check out all the stops.

Counting all the little X’s – The Genetics of Y Negative by Kelly Haworth

Okay guys.  Here’s the deal.  I have a degree in genetics, and a big inspiration for Y Negative involved me completely geeking out over weird genetics and rare genetic disorders.  I’ll be discussing those in this blog, and things get a bit technical.  You have been warned!

Ember lives in a world that has been rebuilt from the ground up.  Everyone knows something happened to mankind to make the world the way it is now, but only the scientists really care to investigate what that event may have been.  Nuclear bombs?  An asteroid?  A volcanic eruption? Whatever happened, I figured that the human population dipped so low that there could be some truly science-fiction-esque changes.  Essentially, the Y chromosome is gone.  Instead, the genes that make a biological male fully functional, what I call the “Y-gene cluster,” have relocated to an X chromosome.  What this means is that Y Negatives (biological females) have the genetic make-up of “XX”, and mascs (biological males) are “XXY”.

It turns out that “XXY” actually exists in our world.  It is called Klinefelter syndrome, and is a genetic disorder that occurs randomly in the human population.  These males are sterile, and only sometimes are there other symptoms, which can include weaker muscles and breast tissue.  Occasionally, the symptoms are severe enough to warrant testosterone injections.   You can read more about this disorder here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Klinefelter_syndrome.

The variation of symptoms in Klinefelter syndrome is due to a process called “X-inactivation.” This is the same process that allows a female calico cat to have her distinct markings.  In all individuals with two X chromosomes, each cell randomly turns off one of them.  Cats happen to have fur color genes on their X chromosomes. So the patterns of a calico’s fur are due to different parts of her skin turning off different X chromosomes, and thus displaying different colors.  Think of it like each part of her skin threw dice to determine which color fur it’d grow.  All female humans also undergo X-inactivation, though there’s no convenient color difference for you to see it happening (thank god.).  But in Ember’s world, all females and males have two X chromosomes, and as we just learned with Klinefelter syndrome, males have a hard time with two X chromosomes.

When I learned about Klinefelter syndrome, I knew it applied to my boys and that I wanted it in the book.  Though, I did take liberties to fit my science fiction world, seeing as every male would be at least XXY.  Namely, my males aren’t sterile, and fewer males show symptoms than we would expect to see.  The guys who do show symptoms are called exins. Get it?  “X-in”activation? Hah!

Exins are usually in the same social circles as mascs; they’re just one of the guys. But if they are known to have particularly severe symptoms, or if they need to inject testosterone, they will most likely be ridiculed by their peers. Also, in Ember’s world, exins tend to be shorter, though in the real world, Klinefelter males tend to be taller.

Now I want to look at the bigger picture.  In Y Negative, homosexual relationships are the norm.  Given the quirky genetics I mentioned above, this leads to a pivotal rebalancing of society.  Technology exists that allows two biological males to father a child through the use of in-vitro fertilization.  So when young Y negatives (biological females) have their eggs harvested, the genetic material in the eggs is discarded, so that the genetic material from two masc fathers is used instead.   The resulting child is a biological descendent of both fathers (I actually call them “dad” and “father” because using the same name would have been totally confusing, right?).  So let’s look at the percentages using a diagram called a Punnett Square:

table Y negative

Assuming each male has one regular X chromosome, and another that carries the Y-gene cluster, he has a 50% chance of passing either chromosome to his offspring.  You may notice that only one of the above 4 boxes is going to be female (XX).  That means there’s only a 25% chance of these two mascs having a female child.
What this means for Ember is that he’s living in a world where at the very most, only 1 in 4 people are female.  And Ember points out to the reader that the percentage is a bit less—it’s closer to 20%.  With so few females in this world, so few Y negatives and andros, is it any surprise that they have become second class citizens?  That their voices have become so quiet as to not be heard?  This gives you a glimpse at some of the prejudice that Ember faces as an andro, a biological female, in this male-dominated world.  It’s a good thing that he is stubborn as hell and isn’t going to take that kind of shit lying down.
Thanks for joining me on this rather technical post, I hope to see you at the next stop of the tour!

About the Book

In the last surviving cities of a ruined world, the concept of “woman” has been forgotten to history. Those unfortunate enough to lack a Y chromosome live as second-class citizens in a world dominated by mascs.Y Negative cover

Ember is Y negative. He is scorned, bullied, abused by every masc he encounters, at work and at the gym. Not even his Y negative roommate cuts him any slack. He wants so desperately to be accepted as a masc that he’d rather buy black market testosterone than food. Something’s gotta give—he needs a change in his life, but has no idea how to find it.

Jess is a masc with a passion for studying the recovery of their devastated world. His boyfriend is pressuring him for more commitment, and his father expects him to take over the family business. He can’t wait to get away from civilization for his seasonal research out in the wild.

When Jess offers Ember a job, their lives collide in the isolated wasteland, and their initial attraction turns into a relationship that horrifies those around them. Soon their struggle to stay together and to be who they are turns into a fight for their lives.

Buy It Here: “http://riptidepublishing.com/titles/y-negative

About the Author

Kelly Haworth grew up in San Francisco and has been reading science fiction and fantasy classics since she was a kid. She developed way too active an imagination as a result, thus, she started writing. Being genderfluid and pansexual, she loves to write LGBTQ+ characters in genres such as science fiction with diverse aliens, and urban fantasies with shifters and fire sorcerers. With degrees in both genetics and psychology, she works as a project manager at a genetics lab. When not working or writing, she can be found wrangling her toddler, working on cosplay, or curled up on the couch with a good TV show or a good book.

Connect with Kelly:

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The Giveaway

To celebrate the release of Y Negative, Kelly is giving away $20 in Riptide Publishing credit! Your first comment at each stop on this tour enters you in the drawing. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on November 21, 2015. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. Entries. Follow the tour for more opportunities to enter the giveaway! Don’t forget to leave your email or method of contact so Riptide can reach you if you win! Must be 18 years of age or older to enter.

Early Bird’s Book Look at ‘Secret of the Manor’ by Taylin Clavelli (exclusive excerpt and giveaway)

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Title: Secret of the Manor
Author: Taylin Clavelli
Publisher: Wayward Ink Publishing

Synopsis

Warren Blake is an accountant at the pinnacle of his career. After accepting a new position he decides to settle in the scenic Cotswold village of Walmsley Hackett.  A village with a colourful history of myth, old wives tales and mystery.

One morning during his train ride into work, Warren notices a small quaint church which he becomes enchanted with. Curiousity compels him to find the church and when he finally does, he discovers an unmarked grave in the corner. Feeling sorry for its occupant, Warren becomes a frequent visitor.

Little does he know that the young man inside the coffin needs a champion and Warren is chosen.

What follows involves a ghostly medieval joust, witchcraft, love, and Warren risking his life.

Exclusive Excerpt

Secret Of The Manor – Excerpt – The Garden Party

Miles, CEO of A-Genet, was a good man and a fine leader. Warren got on well with him. But, while Miles played host, Warren looked upon the party with a more cynical eye. It was an occasion where the title CEO took on a whole new meaning. At such times, CEO meant Cock-Enlarging Officer. The epithet worked for Warren on so many levels. Warren was sure Miles knew what happened every time he spoke to an ambitious employee, especially the males. The man’s winning words had an immediate effect, and the person he was talking to always changed his stance, and seemed to have more down his trousers than when he walked in.

The annual garden party was also a time many took advantage of to network, in various guises. One or two carried virtual knives. Warren knew the game rules. It was a necessary evil in a place where, if you didn’t watch your back, others took advantage. It wasn’t pretty, but it was better than the game some played. He’d been bitten by the latter before; it was one reason for his degrees of separation.

Warren had settled into his comfortable cane chair and relaxed with a glass of wine. He completed the “Hello, darling; wonderful dress, are those new shoes?” social niceties expected of him with the wives, and the “This quarter is going well, any news on that contract?” dialogue with his colleagues in high management. He chinked glasses, ate well, smiled, and conversed with the willing. He stayed with his crowd, and was wary of others who approached him—climbers who decided he was one of those worth sucking up to. Maybe he was unfair to some, but he’d seen too many cases of backbiting to embrace an idealistic approach to office shenanigans.

Secret of the Manor Cover

Buy Links

WIP: http://www.waywardinkpublishing.com/product/secret-of-the-manor-by-taylin-clavelli/
Amazon US: http://www.amazon.com/Secret-Manor-Taylin-Clavelli-ebook/dp/B0174MHXS8/
Amazon UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Secret-Manor-Taylin-Clavelli-ebook/dp/B0174MHXS8/
Amazon AU: http://www.amazon.com.au/Secret-Manor-Taylin-Clavelli-ebook/dp/B0174MHXS8/
Amazon DE: http://www.amazon.de/Secret-Manor-Taylin-Clavelli-ebook/dp/B0174MHXS8/
ARe: https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-secretofthemanor-1914001-149.html

Genre: Gay romance, mystery, paranormal, adventure
Length: Novel

Book Trailer

 

Giveaway

Enter to win the following Rafflecopter giveaway.  Must be 18 years of age or older to enter.

  • 3 x Mega Swag Packs (Europe only) – Bullet USB, Keyring hip flask, Memo set, Mints, 3-in-1 Stylus pen keyring
  • 2 x $10 WIP Gift Cards
  • 3 x Swag Packs – Memo set, Mints, 3-in-1 Stylus pen keyring

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About the Author

Taylin Clavelli lives in the United Kingdom, about 15 miles south of Birmingham, and a short journey from the world famous Cadbury’s Chocolate factory. She’s married with children and loves her family with all her heart.

Her love of books has been a long standing affair, with Taylin liking nothing better than to lose herself in an imaginary world.

Until she met Lily Velden, she never considered trying her hand at writing. However, after talking ideas, Lily encouraged her to put pen to paper—or rather, fingers to keyboard. Since, with a few virtual kicks in the right place, she hasn’t stopped. Her confidence eventually led to her writing an original work for submission.

Her first published work was Boys, Toys, and Carpet Fitters, developed for the Dreamspinner Press Anthology – Don’t Try This At Home.

Now she absolutely adores immersing herself into the characters she creates, and transferring the pictures in her brain to paper, finding it liberating, therapeutic, and wonderful.

Outside of writing, her interests include; martial arts (she’s a 2nd Degree Black Belt in Taekwon-do), horse-riding, all of which facilitates her love of a wide variety of movies. Her action heroes include Jet Li and Tony Jaa—finding the dedication these men have for their art combined with their skill both amazing and a privilege to watch. If pressed, she’ll admit to thinking that the screen entrance of Johnny Depp as Captain Jack Sparrow in the Pirates of the Caribbean – Curse of the Black Pearl, and Shadowfax in LOTR, to be the greatest screen entrances ever. Her all-time favorite movies are Star Wars and Lord of the Rings.

The simple things in life that make her day, putting a smile on her face are:

Laughter – especially that of her children.

The smell of lasagna cooking – it makes her mouth salivate.

The dawn chorus – no symphony ever written can beat the waking greetings of the birds.

Social links:

Website: http://www.taylinclavelli.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100005234535413
Twitter: https://twitter.com/taylinclavelli