Its Lammas Day, Dog Days of August Are Here and This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

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solar circle year litha beltane yule samhain lunasa lammas candlemass equinox summer winter solstice spring autumn

Dog Days of August Are Here
Its Lammas Day

Dog Days of August Are Here and finally I can start to talk about some of my favorite summer subjects.  From the dog star Sirius to Mad Dogs and Englishmen prepare to be bombarded with all sorts of things starting this Sunday pertaining to the heat, the stars, folklore and crazy stuff.  Oh and books too.

The month of August and the heat associated with it has long brought out the craziness in humans and animals.  From the ancient Egyptians to the Greeks and Romans and even musicians such as Joe Cocker who pulled Mad Dogs and Englishmen”,from it’s the title of a famous song by Noel Coward (who credited Kipling and it probably went back further )for his song Mad Dogs and Englishman, the dog days of summer have been both an inspiration and more. See what I mean?

But today or more accurately tomorrow, its Lammas Day.  August 1st.  So that’s our first topic of conversation this month.  What’s Lammas Day you say?  Well, I should be asking author Susan Laine here to answer that question.  Her wonderful stories, The Wheel Mysteries, books 1 & 2 are now combined in one collection, revolve around a Wiccan main character and his P.I. boyfriend and take place during a Wiccan/Pagan holidays also called Sabbats.

Wiccan holidays, or Sabbats, are timed to the seasons and the Earth’s natural rhythms. Sabbats celebrate the Earth’s journey around the sun, called the Wheel of the Year, and Wiccans refer to commemorating the Sabbats as Turning the Wheel.

Most Wiccans celebrate these eight Sabbats annually:

  • Yule, Winter Solstice: December 20, 21, 22, or 23

    Yule is the longest night and the shortest day of the year. Some Wiccans consider Yule to be either the year’s beginning or the end. This is the time to celebrate the return of the light. Yule is the solar turning of the tides, and the newborn Sun offers a fresh start and, literally, a new day. It’s a time of renewal and hope.

  • Brigid, Imbolc, Candlemas, Imbolg, or Brigid’s Day: February 1 or 2

    Brigid, or Imbolc, is a preparation for spring. At Brigid, Wiccans clean and organize their living environments, as well as their minds and hearts, in preparation for the upcoming season of growth. It’s a time to shake off the doldrums of late winter and light the fires of creativity and inspiration.

  • Eostar, Spring Equinox, Ostara, or Oestarra: March 20, 21, 22, or 23

    Winter is now over. Light is increasing. The day and night are equal in length at the equinox. Spring has arrived or is coming soon. Eostar is the time of fertility, birth, and renewal. The ice is thawing, and the growing season for plants and animals begins. Growth is the theme of the day.

  • Beltane, May Eve, Beltaine, Bealtaine, or May Day: April 30 or May 1

    Beltane is the time of the marriage and union of the Goddess as Mother Earth and the God of the Greenwood. It is an ancient fertility festival marking the beginning of the planting cycle. The festival was to ensure a good growing season and a bountiful harvest. Beltane is light-hearted and joyful.

  • Litha, Summer Solstice, or Midsummer: June 20, 21, 22, or 23

    Litha is the longest day and the shortest night of the year. Light triumphs, but will now begin to fade into darkness as autumn approaches. The crops are planted and growing. The woods and forests have reached their peak fullness. This is the time of abundance for wildlife, including people! The holiday is joyous.

  • Lughnasad, Lughnasadh, or Lammas: August 1

    For the ancient Pagans, Lughnasad was a time of both hope and fear. They held hope for a bountiful harvest and abundant food, but they feared that the harvest wouldn’t be large enough and that the cold months would be filled with struggle and deprivation. At Lughnasad, modern Wiccans also face their fears, concentrate on developing their own abilities, and take steps to protect themselves and their homes.

  • Mabon, Fall Equinox, or Harvest Home: September 20, 21, 22, or 23

    At Mabon, the day and the night are equal in length, in sublime balance. For many locations, Mabon coincides with the final harvest of grain, fruits, and vegetables. Mabon, also called Harvest Home, is the time of thanksgiving. The beauty and bounty of summer gives way to the desolation of winter, and the darkness overtakes the light.

  • Samhain, All Hallow’s Eve, Hallowmas: October 31 or November 1

    For many Wiccans, Samhain marks the New Year and is the most important Sabbat. It’s the time to remember the ancestors, and the time to celebrate the harvest and all that has been accomplished over the year.

Lammas.  August 1st, Lammas Day, is generally celebrated as the “cross-quarter” day), the midpoint of summer. For most of northern hemisphere, it coincided with the harvest of wheat.  So Lammas is known as (Anglo-Saxon hlaf-mas, “loaf-mass”), the festival of the wheat harvest, and is the first harvest festival of the year. On this day it was customary to bring to church a loaf made from the new crop, which began to be harvested at Lammastide. The loaf was blessed, and in Anglo-Saxon England it might be employed afterwards to work magic: A book of Anglo-Saxon charms directed that the lammas bread be broken into four bits, which were to be placed at the four corners of the barn, to protect the garnered grain. In many parts of England, tenants were bound to present freshly harvested wheat to their landlords on or before the first day of August. In the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, where it is referred to regularly, it is called “the feast of first fruits”.

So tomorrow, if you have the time…why not bake some fresh bread, think about your talents and how you want to develop them, or  any of the things that Lughnasad or Lammas stands for.  And why not pick up Susan Laine’s Wheel Mysteries while you are at it.  I love them.  There are three out at the moment, I keep waiting the rest to follow.  She is writing one for each Sabbat.  Happy Lammas Day.

Sparks & Drops coverDevil's Own cover

Fireworks and Wild Cards cover

 

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This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

 

Sunday, July 31 – Goodbye July!

  • Its Lammas Day, Dog Days of August Are Here
  • This Week At Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Monday, August 1:

  • Cover Reveal – His Premier by Jessie G. (cover reveal and giveaway)
  • Cover Reveal Blitz for “Lord of a Thousand Steps” (cover reveal and excerpt)
  • Far From Home blog tour with Lorelie Brown (a Riptide Publishing Tour and Giveaway)
  • A MelanieM Release Day Review: Stranded with Desire by Vivien Dean and Rick R. Reed
  • Counting Daisies by Nicola Haken Excerpt Tour and Giveaway
  • An Alisa Release Day Review: Never Lose Your Flames by Frances Gideon

 

Tuesday, August 2:

  • Given the Circumstances by Brad Vance Blog Tour and Giveaway
  • In Our Spotlight – Dawn to Dusk (Lover’s Journey – Book One) by Alina Popescu (Blog Tour, excerpt and giveaway)
  • A Stella Review: Daniel & Erik’s Super Fab Ultimate Wedding Checklist by K. E. Belledonne
  • A BJ Review: Junk Mage by Elliot Cooper
  • A Jeri Review: The Wicked West Collection by Shannon West

Wednesday, August 3:

  • Paul’s Paranormal Portfolio – Online Stories from Castle Roland
  • Release Blitz – Amber Kell – Mate Call (Dragon Men Series #5) tour and giveaway
  • A Lila Release Day Review: Normal Enough by Marie Sexton
  • An Ali Audiobook Review: For Real by Alexis Hall
  • A Paul B Review:  Werewolf Tutor (Shreds #1) by Jade Astor
  • A Jeri Review: Jersey Heat by DC Williams

 

Thursday, August 4:

  • Audio Review Tour: Sorting Out (Fitting In #2) by Silvia Violet (giveaway)
  • Its Volume 1 of the End Street Detectives by Amber Kell and RJ Scott (Recap Tour and Giveaway)
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Audiobook Review: Sorting Out by Sylvia Violet
  • A MelanieM Review: Seeing Red: Scorched by T.C. Orton
  • A Stella Review:  Into the Blue by Penny Henson
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Audiobook Review:  Treasure by Kim Fielding

Friday, August 5:

  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Release Day Review: Fallow by Jordan L. Hawk
  • A Jeri Review: Fight the Tide by Keira Andrews
  • An Ali Audiobook Review: Tigers on the Run by Sean Kennedy
  • A Stella Release Day Review:  Unbreak My Heart by K-lee Klein
  • A MelanieM Review:  Diary Dates by TJ Masters

Saturday, August 6:

  • In the Spotlight: Roadside Rescue by Caitlin Ricci
  • A BJ Audiobook Review: Patchwork Paradise by Indra Vaughn
  • A Stella Review: Roadside Rescue by Caitlin Ricci
  • An Alisa Review: Tagging Mackenzie by LM Somerton

 

An Alisa Review: Finally His (His #6) by Shawn Lane

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Rating:  3 stars out of 5

 

Finally His right oneJay Anderson lives next door to the ruggedly handsome man of his dreams, detective Drake Hanover. He wishes their friendship could turn into more, but there’s a problem — Drake’s ex-boyfriend, who has a habit of calling Drake after his breakups. After Drake once again caters to the whims of his ex, Jay about gives up hope Drake will ever see him as anything but the sweet, young twink next door.

Drake notices the sexy Jay — who wouldn’t? — but the decade age difference between them and his needy ex keep him from thinking he could ever be more than Jay’s friend.

When his ex’s behavior gets to be too much even for Drake and the selfish man manages to hurt Jay, Drake realizes his feelings for Jay go far beyond friendship. Now if he could just convince Jay before Jay becomes his ex-neighbor.

 

This was a sweet short story.  Jay has stayed positive about the possibility of his and Drake’s relationship becoming more, but gives up when Drake’s ex hurts him.  Drake realizes him and his ex are really over, but wants so much more with Jay.

 

I could feel Jay’s heart breaking when he knew Drake was going to run to his ex and then again when his ex makes some hurtful comments.  Drake is so confused about his feelings and can’t seem to see what is right in front of him.  When Drake finally gets over himself he quickly opens his heart to Jay and is determined to prove it.

 

The cover art is nice and works for the story.

 

Sales Links: JMS Books | Amazon | ARe

 

Book Details:

ebook, 69 pages

Published: July 2, 2016 by JMS Books

ISBN: 9781634861328

Edition Language: English

 

A MelanieM Release Day Review: Bitten by Mistake by Annabelle Jacobs

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Rating: 4.25 stars out of 5

0f988-bittenbymistake-fFrom animosity to searing passion in a lunar cycle… but can their bond survive?

Wolf shifter Nathan Kohl’s pack is his whole life. Arrogant and handsome, he avoids commitment to anything or anyone outside of his pack. He works hard, plays hard, and pursues humans as lovers because there’s little to no chance of him forming a permanent bond. However, when Jared Taylor comes into Nathan’s life, every rule is broken.

After a bad experience, Jared vowed to never get involved with another shifter, no matter how much they got under his skin. Despite being physically attracted to Nathan, who’s all kinds of hot, Jared only sees an arrogant, domineering bastard.

A disastrous case of mistaken identity throws Nathan and Jared together until the next full moon. Forced to spend the next twenty-eight days in close proximity, they can no longer ignore the powerful attraction between them. Passion ignites, and their relationship takes a turn neither of them wanted.

But when the full moon comes, everything might change again.

Shifter stories are an immediate draw for me and there are so many out there to choose from.  But the combination of the plot line of a person bitten by mistake and the author, Annabelle Jacobs, made Bitten by Mistake a book I had to read.  Turns out that I really liked what the story and the author delivered.

In Bitten by Mistake, Annabelle Jacobs gives us a different aspect of shifter culture when human Jared is bitten by wolf shifter Nathan by accident during a territory pack quarrel.   In order to lay the foundation for the fact that Nathan and Jared must spend time together until the next full moon, Jacobs weaves together a world of laws and shifter culture that was unlike anything I had found in other stories.  In addition, she unveils it through computer searches conducted by Nathan and Jared and several wolf pack conversations so we, and the couple get it in bits and pieces, a neat touch.

I don’t want to give anything away but the Bond issue here is again outside of the norm for most shifter couples, another factor that I saw as a huge plus.  The author absolutely made me believe in the power of the bond, the feelings between the two felt real, as did the ambivalence both felt about their situation and the future.

I loved all the characters here, not just the main characters of Nathan and Jared but the secondary ones as well, the ones I see Jacobs setting up for their own stories, at least I hope I’m reading this correctly.  Because not only do I see Jared’s best friend, Seb, and perhaps the Pack Doctor each getting their own story, but Luke, Nathan’s best friend getting one too.  Maybe even more.

If I had a quibble, its that Jared’s issue with his abusive ex seemed to get a light hand for a very serious problem…domestic violence.  I thought if you are going to bring this into a story, and give it plot time, then it needs to be addressed a little more deeply then it was done here.  Not that Nathan didn’t give it the thought it deserved, he did but that Jared seemingly got over it too easily.  That’s my point.  Perhaps you won’t mind it.  As I said, that’s the only thing that really bothered me.  The rest?  I absolutely adored.

Need a new shifter romance?  One with a new look at shifter culture and bonding?  Picking up Bitten by Mistake by Annabelle Jacobs.  I adored it and  am hoping it just the first in a new series from this terrific author. Its one I recommend.

Cover art by Natasha Snow does show Nathan and the font is nice but in a sea of covers that look pretty much like this you need to do something more to stand out and this doesn’t.

Sales Links: Amazon

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 233 pages
Published July 28th 2016
ASINB01IZUN1V6
Edition LanguageEnglish

 

A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: No Quarter (Bounty #1) by Christine d’Abo

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

NoQuarter_600x900Bounty hunter Gar Stitt is assigned the job of capturing the legendary space pirate Faolan Wolf. But the captor becomes the captive, figuratively, when the two find the heat between them combustible. Though unsuitable, their attraction grows and Gar begins to feel things he’s never even allowed himself to consider before. And when Gar is betrayed by the man who rescued him when his family was killed, Wolf is there to help him as the two embark on a journey of revenge.

But what Gar finds along the way is love—a feeling that he hasn’t felt since he was a young man and he had to identify his dead sister’s body. And Wolf loves him in return, though he’s reluctant to admit it since he knows his days are numbered. Surprises are in store for both men, but they find that together they can overcome the seemingly insurmountable odds.

I was a little nervous when I first started reading this story, as I was informed of a severe beating that occurs in the early part of the book, and I read some negative reviews about it. I took over for a reviewer who couldn’t finish the book but told me what to expect. So with trepidation, I arrived at that point in the story, but I found that my perspective was a bit different from some of the other readers/reviewers, and although I didn’t like what occurred, at that point I could understand why it happened the way it did. By the end of that segment of the book, without realizing it, the characters had captured my interest, and I started to look forward to their story. I definitely need to pass on the warning of graphic violence, however. It is very evident that it will be a trigger to those who do not want to read about it.

On the other hand, once those early scenes were out of the way, the development of the relationship between the men, their pursuit of the man who destroyed Gar’s family, Gar’s reunion with a long-lost family member, the exciting space battles, and the rush against time to find a medication for Wolf make this book a very enjoyable read.

Cover art by Lou Harper shows a single man in the act of disrobing. Bright and colorful, this color scheme carries on throughout the series.

Sales Links:  Riptide Publishing | ARe | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, Second, 240 pages
Published April 25th 2016 by Riptide Publishing (first published March 31st 2010)
ISBN139781626493995
Edition LanguageEnglish

SeriesBounty #1

A Jeri Review: Fish Out of Water by Amy Lane

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Rating: 3 stars out of 5

Fish Out of WaterAs a fan of Amy Lane, I was excited to read this book. I’ve enjoyed her more “fluffy” work as well as her more angsty work. This was neither. It was hard to even classify it as a romance for me. It’s a murder mystery with police corruption and some sex thrown in.

Jackson is a former cop turned PI with a chip on his shoulder the size of Montana. He always wanted to be a cop to right the wrongs in the world. Or at least in his neighborhood. But after getting burned and nearly killed, he walks around like the world owes him. For a guy who wanted to help, I don’t see him helping anyone but himself and his brother-like best friend.

Ellery is an attorney at a big shot firm where Jackson is a PI. Apparently he has always crushed on Jackson, but was put off by his whoring ways. They are thrown together to help Jackson’s friend Kaden clear his name.

Jackson and Ellery are so antagonistic toward each other from the start. And yet, they pretty much fall into bed together. Even though Jackson swore he wouldn’t until Kaden was safe. That lasted for about 10 pages. For a guy on a moral high horse, he doesn’t really stick to his own.

I didn’t feel any chemistry between the two. In fact, I felt a lot more chemistry between Jackson and  his best friend’s sister at the beginning of the story. It just felt like both guys wanted to get their rocks off. There was no feeling.

So while this certainly won’t put me off of Ms. Lane’s work, this book really didn’t do it for me. Even the title didn’t work. There was no tie in whatsoever. So a cover with a gold fish and handcuffs wouldn’t draw me to this book and even if it did, it doesn’t hint at the grittiness of the story.

Cover art by Reese Dante.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | ARe | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 270 pages
Expected publication: July 29th 2016 by Dreamspinner Press
Original TitleFish Out of Water
ISBN 1634773799 (ISBN13: 9781634773799)
Edition LanguageEnglish

A Lila Audiobook Review: Duke in Hiding by M.J. O’Shea and Rusty Topsfield (Narrator)

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

Duke In HidingEvery gentleman has something to hide.

Meeting Heath Blackwood, a gorgeous English farmer, is probably the most exciting thing to ever happen to small-town landscaper Theo Brody, who has lived in quiet Maplehurst, New Hampshire, all his life. The sexy and secretive Brit shakes the foundations of his orderly world as they are swept up in a springtime romance neither can resist.

But Heath’s secrets run deeper than Theo ever imagined. He’s actually Heathcliff Pierrepont Blackwood, Duke of Kingston, in hiding from recent death threats. Suddenly there’s more separating them than the Atlantic Ocean, and Theo doubts he’ll ever fit in with English nobility. Though Heath and Theo are opposites in almost every way, their love might bridge the gap—if they’re willing to take the risk.

Duke in Hiding is a lovely friends-to-lovers story with a fairy tale twist. It’s a slow burn account of two men from two different worlds coming together to enjoy the simplicity of life in a small American town.

Heath comes to Maplehurst, NH to hide after receiving death threats. He’s the Duke of Kingston but is assuming the identity of a British farmer to avoid recognition. There isn’t much to do in town but his luck changes when he meets Theo Brody, a landscaper moonlighting as a bartender.

The night a brooding Brit entered the bar he worked part-time, Theo found him infuriating, but the more time they spent together, the more they learned how much they had in common. Through their daily meetings and following dates, we get to see how their relationship developed into true love. They had great chemistry, and their friendship was the base of their relationship.

There’s a lot happening in this story and more characters than necessary. Even when I enjoyed the story, I think it has a pacing problem. Some parts are too slow, and others are taken care with a line or two. We get unnecessary details through the story. And areas, where the reader might want to know more, were ignored.

Perhaps a little less time learning about plants and more getting to see more of the story resolution would have given this book a higher rating.

Rusty Topsfield did an excellent job making both main characters realistic. The author did create two distinct men, rooted in their countries’ characteristics and the narration helped the overall enjoyment of Heath’s and Theo’s relationship. All the secondary voices were spot on and gave the story a deepness that only reading couldn’t accomplish.

Paul Richmond’s cover matches the rest of the Dreamspun Desires series and the cover model fits Heath’s description.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner | iTunes | Audible

Audiobook Details:

Narrator: Rusty Topsfield
Length: 5 hours and 8 minutes

Published: May 16, 2016 (Audio Edition) by Dreamspinner Press
ASIN:  B01FMPWXZC
Edition Language: English

Release Day for ‘Bitten by Mistake’ by Annabelle Jacobs (excerpt and giveaway)

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Release Blitz & Giveaway

Author: Annabelle Jacobs
 
Release Date: July 28 2016
 
Length: 81,000 words
 
 
Cover Artist: Natasha Snow
Blurb
 
From animosity to searing passion in a lunar cycleÖ but can their bond survive?
 
Wolf shifter Nathan Kohlís pack is his whole life. Arrogant and handsome, he avoids commitment to anything or anyone outside of his pack. He works hard, plays hard, and pursues humans as lovers because thereís little to no chance of him forming a permanent bond. However, when Jared Taylor comes into Nathanís life, every rule is broken.


 


After a bad experience, Jared vowed to never get involved with another shifter, no matter how much they got under his skin. Despite being physically attracted to Nathan, whoís all kinds of hot, Jared only sees an arrogant, domineering bastard.


 

 

A disastrous case of mistaken identity throws Nathan and Jared together until the next full moon. Forced to spend the next twenty-eight days in close proximity, they can no longer ignore the powerful attraction between them. Passion ignites, and their relationship takes a turn neither of them wanted.
But when the full moon comes, everything might change again.
Excerpt
 
ìThis seat taken?î
The smooth, husky voice startled Jared into jarring his shoulder again. He snapped his eyes open.
The guy in front of him was tall, maybe three inches taller than Jaredís six foot one, and he stood way too close, invading Jaredís personal space. It set him instantly on edge. Leaning back in his seat to get some distance between them, Jared gave him a wary look. ìNo, but Iím not eager to fill it either.î
ìFeisty. I like that in my men.î The tall guy put his hand on the back of Jaredís chair, and ever so subtly scented the air.
A few more drinks in and Jared would have missed it, but the alcohol had yet to hit his system, and he recognised the move for what it was.
Fucking shifters.
ìPiss off.î
ìIím Nathan.î The guy grinned at him, oozing confidence.
Jared rolled his eyes and took a deliberately slow drink of his beer. ìAnd Iím not interested. So kindly fuck off and go bother someone else.î

 



Author Bio


Annabelle Jacobs lives in the South West of England with three rowdy children, and two cats. An avid reader of fantasy herself for many years, Annabelle now spends her days writing her own stories. They’re usually either fantasy or paranormal fiction, because she loves building worlds filled with magical creatures, and creating stories full of action and adventure. Her characters may have a tough time of itófighting enemies and adversityóbut they always find love in the end.


Author Links


Twitter ñ https://twitter.com/AJacobs_fiction


Website ñ www.annabellejacobs.com


Email ñ ajacobsfiction@gmail.com


Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/ajacobsfiction

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In Our Spotlight with An Author Interview: Zane Riley and his release ‘With or Without You’ (Excerpt and Giveaway)

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With or Without You by Zane Riley
Sequel to ‘Go Your Own Way’
Release Date: July 21, 2016

Goodreads Link
Publisher: Interlude Press
Cover Artist: Colleen M. Good

Today Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is very happy to be interviewing Zane Riley author of With or Without You. Hi Zane, thank you for agreeing to this interview. Tell us a little about yourself, your background, and your current book.

Hi! I’m Zane, and I’m a queer transgender writer from northern Virginia. Currently, I’m in the process of packing up to move to Washington state, so I’m pretty busy at the moment, but also very excited. I’ve been writing since I was a little kid, although I didn’t get truly serious about it until college when I switched my major to Creative Writing.

With or Without You is my second novel and a sequel to my first. It continues Will and Lennox’s story as they finish up their senior year of high school. As they begin to learn how to navigate their growing relationship, Will plans for his future in college while Lennox struggles to accept that his future is more than surviving until the next day. They each begin to forge their own paths only to realize that the futures they each want may lead them away from each other.

  • Do you have any strange writing habits?

I used to, but in recent years the strangeness has melted away a little bit. When I first started writing daily I would change my location often to keep myself inspired. I once wrote from my bathtub, fully clothed with a bunch of blankets and my cat. Besides that, I can pretty much write anywhere at any time, although I prefer to be alone or at least to not have a bunch of people sitting next to me or looking over my shoulder.

  • Just as your books will inspire others, what books have inspired you?

A few recent ones were Tales of the Madmen Underground and The Book Thief. It’s sort of a constant revolving door for me. I read a book and it inspires me with its world and characters, it has an impact on how I look at different ways I write or words I use. Then I read another book, and it shifts again. I really like the books that I read and alter how I’m looking at my own work.

  • What do you consider to be your best accomplishment (writing or life)?

It’s a toss up between graduating from college and moving out of Virginia. I’m the first in my family to make it to college and to graduate, so it’s a big deal to them and to me. My mom’s one of six and only one of them graduated high school, two went back for their GEDs, and the other three dropped out. I’m pretty proud of getting my degree, even though it took a few extra years because I was working and trying to pay for as much of it as I could while in school.

Moving out of Virginia is my other big one since that’s happening right now. I’ve been saying I want to move away from the congestion of northern Virginia and D.C. since I was twelve, so I’m hyped to finally make it a reality.

  • Where do you see yourself in ten years?

Traveling the world would be amazing, but I’ll settle for student loan free and with a steady income to afford to live. That’s the dream, ha ha. I’d like to have a cat or dog, probably a cat, once I’m settled and out on my own.

  • If you had a super power, what would it be?

I always think super speed would be nice, but then I stop and consider how slow the rest of the world would seem in comparison. It’d be cool to be able to run across water or to just pop over to Europe whenever, but I don’t think I could handle the fallback of that power. I’d finish things so much faster, the world would literally be inching along compared to the speed I was running at, because I can’t see how super speed wouldn’t also affect your mental speeds and the way you experience the world. Everything would be so slow, and I would get bored very fast.

Thank you, Zane, for that  wonderful interview.  Now more about With or Without You.

Blurb

In the much-anticipated sequel to Go Your Own Way, high school seniors Lennox McAvoy and Will Osborne pick up right where they left off—navigating the tumultuous waters of a new relationship and dealing with Will’s disapproving father.

When a violent incident forces Lennox to give up his independent ways, he must come to terms with his past just as Will is grappling with his future. As Will’s college plans become reality, will Lennox have the courage to go after the opportunities he doesn’t think he deserves?

 

Pages or Words: 348 pages
Should be read in order to appreciate the books

Categories: Contemporary, Gay Fiction, M/M Romance, New Adult

Excerpt

The band room was empty when he pushed the door open, but the piano was set up like it was almost every afternoon these days. Only Mr. Robinette and a music stand littered with sheet music was absent.

“Hello?”

The silence struck Lennox as odd, but as he sat down he also realized how strange it was to announce himself. So much had changed since the first time he’d snuck in here to play on his own. Now he was auditioning for some college he still couldn’t fathom.

To make Will happy. And maybe a little bit for himself.

“Ah, I wondered if you were going to show up.”

Mr. Robinette was behind him, the door to his office now wide open. He’d taken off his tie and undone a few buttons on his shirt like he did most afternoons when they practiced.

“You just want to play it through a few times or mess around with something else?”

Lennox took a seat at the piano, but didn’t both opening his bag. He’d memorized the piece he was playing by Valentine’s Day and now, almost two weeks later, he could write it out measure for measure on blank sheet music. But playing it was becoming repetitive. For two hours, three times a week, almost nonstop with the same four pages and nothing else.

“I’d rather try something new. That piece is getting a little old.”

Mr. Robinette smiled and pulled a chair up beside him. “I had a nightmare the other night and it was the theme song while I ran around a haunted house Scooby Doo style.”

“You didn’t catch a ride in the Mystery Machine, did you? I’ve always wanted that van.”

“I’ve got a lunch box version of it. It doesn’t fit much though because it’s too narrow. Anyway, play what you want. I’ll be here until about four-thirty, so it’s all yours.”

As Mr. Robinette returned to his office, Lennox pulled what had become his music notebook out of his bag and opened it to the latest page. He’d taken to composing during class when he should have been taking notes, especially calculus where he had no reason to pay attention anyway.

The latest page was a tune he’d come up with while the other kids had been tapping their pencils and erasing answers. Every moment of his life carried a rhythm, a melody, and an emotion he could create with, and his notebook was becoming a testament to that. He played through everything he’d jotted down over the past few days, but after several rounds he kept coming back to one. It was a piano version he’d tried—and mostly failed—to create of one of the songs Will had played on a loop a few weeks ago.

“I’m getting ready to lock up!”

Mr. Robinette’s voice carried out of the office and into the band room. A few minutes and several jingles of Mr. Robinette’s keys later, the office door was shut and Lennox was closing the cover on the keys.

“That last piece you were playing, was it a cover?”

Lennox shrugged as they headed for the door.

“It was supposed to be. Didn’t sound much like the song.”

“Well, the others did. They were all really good, even the ones that weren’t covers.”

“Uh, thanks.”

Lennox watched him at the door to the parking lot for a moment. He’d been a great help over the last month—all year if Lennox was honest. Mr. Robinette had believed in him in his own way since school had begun, and thanks to him he had a decent shot at this audition.

“Thanks for… all of this. I actually feel like—just thanks.”

Mr. Robinette gave him a genuine smile and patted him on the shoulder.

“You’re very welcome. Let me know how it goes when you get back, okay? I’m rooting for you. Got all of my fingers and limbs crossed. You deserve the chance. Don’t doubt that or yourself.”

“I-I won’t.”

It was funny to have so many people believing in him after so long. Happiness was a strange feeling as well. Until he’d let Will into his life he couldn’t remember how to capture such a feeling in his chest and keep it there.

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Meet the author

Zane Riley is a transgender writer who wrote his first work of fan fiction in the fourth grade. He is a recent transplant to Vancouver, Washington where he spends his time watching long distance baseball games, hiking, and exploring the musical depths of the internet. His first novel, Go Your Own Way, was published by Interlude Press in 2015.

Where to find the author:

 


Tour Dates & Stops:

21-Jul: Parker Williams, Unquietly Me, Louise Lyons, Joyfully Jay, Velvet Panic

22-Jul: Bayou Book Junkie, Sinfully Addicted to All Male Romance, Outrageous Heroes

25-Jul: Havan Fellows, Gay Media Reviews, Nephy Hart, Happily Ever Chapter

26-Jul: Oh My Shelves, Kirsty Loves Books, Dawn’s Reading Nook

27-Jul: MM Book Escape, My Fiction Nook, Prism Book Alliance

28-Jul: MM Good Book Reviews, Book Lovers 4Ever, Open Skye Book Reviews, BFD Book Blog

29-Jul: Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words, Inked Rainbow Reads, Boys on the Brink Reviews

1-Aug: Alpha Book Club, Love Bytes

2-Aug: Wicked Faerie’s Tales and Reviews, Butterfly-O-Meter

3-Aug: V’s Reads, Molly Lolly

 

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Release Day for Priest and Pariahs by Mann Ramblings (excerpt and giveaway)

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Synopsis – Priest and Pariahs

Ship Logs of the Santa Claus, Book Three

Costa McQuillen is a Pariah, a para-human with tech empathic abilities who has escaped from Earth, where being para-human is illegal—and marks him for extermination. Arrogant and standoffish, Costa is unable to trust anyone, but is willing to risk everyone’s safety to reach the planet Omoikane. His best solution: gaining passage on board the Santa Claus.

Arbor Kittering, the crew’s newest coding tech, is a medical oddity. With the technologies available to prevent birth defects, Arbor’s status as a dwarf brings the kind of attention he could happily do without. Having spent a short time in prison for data hacking and falsifying government files doesn’t help. The Santa Claus is his last chance at a new start, if he can decipher the strange malfunctions plaguing the ship.

Priest, the Santa Claus’ Head Pilot, is a bit of a scoundrel. Perpetually single, Priest is attracted to Costa for his exotic looks, and to Arbor for his unique qualities. In truth, he’d like to have both, but it’s clear such a thing isn’t in the cards. Now Priest needs to make a choice, before it’s too late.

Priest and Pariah Cover

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WIP: http://www.waywardinkpublishing.com/product/priest-and-pariahs-by-mann-ramblings/
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Excerpt

THE DARKNESS REMINDED him somehow of an unborn child, floating weightless, enveloped by warmth. What would anyone give to fall back into such a simple existence, removed of all need beyond instinctual thought? What a fortunate nine months it would be. What a wonderful life, sleeping and cared for inside the womb, never requiring a voice. All before anyone could teach a soul to love or hate, or something or someone was unwanted.

Is that what was happening here? Had he somehow regressed back before his own infancy? The pangs of jealousy he was experiencing told him no. Sadly, no.

He felt like he’d been slumbering for such a long time, and very, very slowly he was starting to wake. Threads of logical coherence began to tickle his thoughts in the dark. It was not a welcome sensation and he fought to avoid it. Why couldn’t he go back into the lovely silence?

Envy for the ignorance of the unborn rolled through him. How unfair it was to have the innocence of being sequestered and never hearing the taunts of children or comprehending the cries of the intolerant taken away from him. If only he had never heard slurs of hatred or understood what defined a second-class citizen.

What was that sound? Could it be a faint heartbeat in the distant void? It sounded brash and unnatural, refusing to lull him back to sleep like the soothing cadence of a mother’s pulse.

Like a child, he wanted nothing more than to stay safe and warm, but like in every instance, someone always forced a person into the painful light and cold of reality. The darkness parted above him with a soft mechanical hiss. The warmth bled away, making him want to cry.

Daring to open his foggy eyes, he squinted in the artificial light. A woman in a white coat hovered over him.

“Welcome back to the real world,” she said. “Can you tell me your name?”

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Start with Books One and Two of Ship Logs of the Santa Claus!

The Luxorian Fugitive

Luxorian PreviewSergeant Liam Jacks is the security chief of transport vessel, The Santa Claus. He travels the planetary cluster with Marc Danverse, his best friend and captain, seeking to escape his tortured past and find some peace of mind.

Having been through a civil war together, Danverse and Liam are close. Maybe too close….

All that changes when mysterious stranger, Hadrian Jamison, an escaped Adonirati, books passage to Alpha Centauri. Can he be trusted? Can the stories of his past be believed?

As Liam’s fascination with Hadrian grows, jealousy threatens to tear apart his friendship with Danverse.

When Hadrian’s owner shows up, Liam is forced to go against orders in order to launch a rescue mission to save him.

The ensuing conflict may be more than any of them expected.

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Amazon US: http://www.amazon.com/Luxorian-Fugitive-Ship-Santa-Claus-ebook/dp/B00V6KO1CG/
Amazon UK:  http://www.amazon.co.uk/Luxorian-Fugitive-Ship-Santa-Claus-ebook/dp/B00V6KO1CG/
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B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-luxorian-fugitive-mann-ramblings/1121637747?ean=9781925222388

A Cook’s Tale

A Cooks Tale - Mann RamblingsThe trials and tribulations of the crew and passengers of interplanetary transport vessel, The Santa Claus continues in A Cook’s Tale.

After a horrific breakup, Erron Murfin is bitter, homeless, and friendless. When the cook’s position on the Santa Claus presents itself, Erron decides to escape his current circumstances and join the crew. On board he reconnects with family friend Gamin Wells, whose own secrets and issues begin to surface upon Erron’s arrival. The least of which is the reason the pair haven’t laid eyes on one another in over twelve years.

As Erron settles into his new duties, the men on board take an interest in their newest crew member. Among those intrigued by Erron are polyamorous couple, Barrus and James. Despite Erron’s cautious nature, he’s drawn into a triad relationship with the pair.

But there’s something about Gamin…

Is Erron too damaged to confront his own feelings?

Will his past prevent him from finding what he needs?

Buy Links

WIP: http://www.waywardinkpublishing.com/product/a-cooks-tale-by-mann-ramblings/
Amazon US: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B017I26RXG/
Amazon UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B017I26RXG/
Amazon AU: http://www.amazon.com.au/dp/B017I26RXG/
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B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/a-cooks-tale-mann-ramblings/1122908859

About the Author

Like many gay men, when Mann Ramblings grew up, there weren’t any heroes he could relate to. The world held him back while he tried futilely to hide the real person inside. So much has changed since those hollow days. He finally found his voice, the voice that says it’s all right to revel in the so-called inappropriate joys, laughs, and loves that storm inside a man’s head. It took a long time to find that courage and now that it’s here, he plans to use it well.

While spending years more focused on visual arts, he never let go of his innate passion for storytelling—he wanted to write and draw comic books when he grew up. Once he discovered M/M fiction, a whole new world opened with new possibilities. Why couldn’t you have fantastic and dynamic tales with an M/M cast? He started reading the online tales of authors like, Night Tempest, Rob Colton, and Alicia Nordwell, which only fueled within him the need to create. Eventually he found GayAuthors.org, and with a little coercive nudge from Night Tempest, started sharing his tales with an unexpected level of positive response. That experience and support gave him the courage to cross his fingers and aim for the world of M/M publishing.

Born and raised in Michigan, Mann Ramblings continues to type away, wishing it was practical to use a noisy, old fashioned keyboard that clacks with each strike, if only to annoy his loving partner and spoiled miniature dachshund.

Email: mannramblings@gmail.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/mannramblings
Twitter: @mannramblings

Love A Shifter Romance? Check Out ‘Another Secret’ by Stevie Woods (Book Blitz and Giveaway

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Title:  Another Secret

Author: Stevie Woods

Publisher:  Torquere Press

Release Date:  8/3/16

Heat Level: 5

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 14,350 words

Genre:Gay Romance, Erotic Romance, Paranormal Romance

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Another Secret Cover

Synopsis

After yet another bad dream, Leland accepts he can no longer keep his secret; the time had come to confess all to his best friend, Drew. He sets out early in the morning, determined yet fearful of Drew’s reaction to what he must tell him. Leland has loved Drew ever since they were teenagers and together they experimented with their sexuality, but Drew has only ever been his best friend. He dreads maybe even losing that when Drew learns the truth.

However, when halfway through the forest to Drew’s home, Leland is forced to take cover when he sees a large grey wolf tailing another man. His concern turns to shock when the man abruptly shifts to become a wolf and attacks the grey wolf.

The fight is swift and bloody and ends when the man-wolf runs off. Leland gets his second shock of the morning when the grey wolf abruptly shifts to become human. To become Drew. Too surprised to do more than watch as his now very naked best friend rushes off, Leland is in for yet another surprise when he finally confronts Drew later that morning.

Excerpt

Perhaps fate had decided enough was enough and given him that proverbial kick up the backside, letting him know it was time to tell Drew everything. He sighed. It was the last thing he wanted, but the time had come; he could put it off no longer.

He was just about to step out into a small clearing when he saw it—a large grey wolf, so dark as to be almost black. It was a beautiful specimen. Leland kept very still, not wanting to draw the animal’s attention. It looked as if the wolf was already trailing something by the way it was behaving. Even as he watched, the wolf sniffed the air and quickened its pace. Apparently, it had found its prey. As Leland slipped back behind the tree, shock slid through him as he spied the wolf’s target. It was a man.

Leland was of two minds what to do. His immediate reaction was to shout a warning, but that could induce the wolf to attack sooner. Cursing himself for being a fool, Leland ran as quietly and swiftly as he could around the clearing toward the unsuspecting victim. Sliding to a halt behind a large tree, Leland saw the wolf lowering itself, as if getting set to spring. Leland opened his mouth to yell a warning, but the man was not as unaware as Leland assumed. The man spun to face the wolf, snarling and growling as he tore the clothes from his body. Leland, his mouth still hanging open, watched in total shock.

Almost too fast for Leland to follow, the man’s form shifted and changed. From two feet, he dropped to all fours, fingers and toes becoming sharp claws. Pale skin sprouted dark brown fur as his face elongated and his teeth became sharp points frothed with saliva.

The two wolves leapt at each other, meeting mid-flight to clash and fall to the earth, landing on steady feet, teeth bared as they snarled at each other. They circled, gazes locked, until they charged again.

Leland gripped the tree so tightly the bark dug into his palms as he watched the two animals fight it out. He was battling the urge to run for safety, not sure if the wolves would break apart and come after him instead. His body was telling him to stay where he was, hopefully well and truly hidden, but his brain was debating how safe it would be when one of the animals won and sensed a new victim nearby. Even though he knew one of them was, in fact, a man who had changed—shifted?—into a wolf, Leland found it hard to think of it as anything but an animal. He certainly wasn’t behaving like a human as he bit and tore at the other wolf’s hide. Leland also wondered what sort of condition the man-wolf would be in, assuming he survived the fight. His body was already streaked with blood from the attack.

It appeared the two wolves were well matched; neither seemed able to gain the upper hand in the battle. The dark grey wolf suddenly leapt and landed hard on the man-wolf’s back and he let out a howl, which soon turned into a snarl as he fought his way from beneath the dark grey animal. With a snap of his jaws and a growl, the man-wolf turned and ran for the cover of the trees opposite where Leland was hiding. The dark grey wolf tensed, as if to follow, before it limped a few steps back, eyes constantly searching the surrounding trees to ensure the other wolf didn’t return. After a few minutes, the wolf sat on its haunches and began to lick at its wounds.

Leland allowed himself to relax a little, deciding it was best he stay where he was. He was pretty sure the wolf would sneak off to its den as soon as the animal felt secure enough to move on. He kept a close eye on it, not allowing his caution to slide, though after a minute or so, he did wonder if perhaps he was more shocked than he’d thought or if maybe he was more tired than he’d realized and his vision was affected. He couldn’t be seeing what he thought; he couldn’t!

But as he watched Drew Horton climb to his feet from where a second ago a dark grey wolf had sat, still rubbing at the long gash on his thigh, Leland could no longer refute what his eyes were showing him

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Torquere Press

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Meet the Author

STEVIE WOODS is a Brit living in the Northwest of England who has left her day job behind – though it’s a quandary that there still doesn’t seem to be much more free time in her day!

A long time avid reader of romance with a dash of adventure, Stevie only stumbled over ‘slash’ pairings a few years ago and was an immediate convert. Having dabbled with writing on and off for years, it wasn’t long before Stevie was tapping away on the keyboard inventing stories around two hot guys, gaining her first publication in the summer of 2007.

Stevie likes reading stories with a good strong plot and believable characters and does her best to create them in her own work.

Stevie has a soft spot for Historical settings but also thoroughly enjoys SF and Fantasy, Paranormal and Contemporary, finding the similarities as intriguing as the differences. Stevie already has a variety of novels, novellas and short stories released by Phaze Books, MLR Press and Torquere Press.

Stevie is happy to hear from her readers via her website: http://www.steviewoods.com

She can also be reached via:

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