A VVivacious Release Day Review: Black Snow by EAB

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Rating: 5 Stars out of 5
 
img_0184Brier Snow is the heir to the throne of Lirend. He has been imprisoned in the palace, isolated for much of his life. When his stepmother finds a clause in the contract regarding his succession that requires him to fulfil a year-long sabbatical away from the palace he is thrust out into the wildernesses of Aire with an unknown companion.
 
Roland Archer is hired by the queen to supervise her stepson’s year away from the palace. Roland has been alone for a very long time but he never expected to find a reason to live in Brier especially, as he was hired to do something very different. He pushes Brier away because he fears that Brier could never love him if he knew the truth.
 
But as things stand, fate isn’t done with these two, there’s something quite unexpected brewing and the journey to true love was never going to be easy.
 
This book is an interpretation of “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” and it was an amazing one to boot. What I loved about this book was that it managed to retain that fairy tale glow despite being very different from conventional fairy tales. The story also managed to capture a lot of the nuances of its parent story, reworking them in ingenious ways to serve the purposes of the plot. Another aspect of this book I loved was that the legend of Snow White actually exists in Brier’s world albeit with a wonderful, seemingly irrelevant twist. In a way Brier’s opinion on the story sets the stage for Black Snow.
 
“But how did she come to love the prince who had only loved her for her beauty when the huntsman had loved her for her heart?”
 
But things don’t turn out to be so easy when the prince is a salve for a broken heart and a relationship between a king and a Thenian huntsman is frowned upon by all the courtiers even without Roland’s secret seeing the light of the day.
 
Black Snow has a very political background which influences the story a lot, especially the plight of the Thenians and the social hierarchy of Lirend. The story is very rich and there are just so many amazing things happening that it is hard to mention each one.
 
I absolutely adored this book. I loved how the stage was set for all the events in this book and how the story enfolds. One of the things I liked about this book a lot was how long it was, while a good book is never really long, this book surely has the pages to be considered long and I loved that because not only does that enable the author to explore every nuance that helps set the stage for this epic love story but it also allowed me to really spend time in the world of this book soaking up all the wonderful details.
 
For me one of the most amazing things in this book is how Brier and Roland fall in love the entire part of the story that takes place in Aire feels especially magical, in an already magical story.
 
This story spans years so there is a lot going on but the best part of this story being spread across years was that we actually get to see characters grow during this years, especially Brier. Brier starts out as an inexperienced nineteen year old prince isolated by the Queen, completely out of his element in Aire. As he spends more and more time in Aire we see him grow, fall in love and then fight for that love and then we see him as King and it is quite amazing seeing Brier transform from a prince to a King because it really brought forth so much of his hidden potential because in that one moment that he became King he grew the most and it was amazing because in fairy tales we rarely ever see the political aspect of Kingdoms and maybe for good reason because politics is rarely free of treachery and corruption. But I loved how the author managed to make it such a central part of Brier’s development.
 
This book is kind of my dream come true. A long book which happens to be a romance (as romantic books are very rarely long a fact I never knew I resented till I could get my hands on this book and really appreciate how wonderful it is to be able to spend hours on end immersed in the world of your favourite characters) that is a re-imagining of one of the world’s oldest fairy tales that happens to be an mpreg (a fact that is made possible in this story by that seemingly irrelevant alteration to Snow White’s story as it is told in Lirend).
 
This book is magic!
 
Cover Art by Natalya Sorokina. The cover is beautiful. It is so amazing if I am not wrong I think it depicts the scene between Roland and Brier at the festival of Yensira because when I see the cover it reminds me of that scene and I end up squeezing uncontrollably.
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Book Details:
ebook, 350 pages
Expected publication: November 7th 2016 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN 1634777204 (ISBN13: 9781634777209)
Edition LanguageEnglish

A Paul B Release Day Review: Running Blind by Kim Fielding and Verona Keyes

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Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

running-blind-by-kim-fielding-and-venona-keysKyle Green is a successful voice actor with a partner of ten years.  Finishing up the latest season of the hit anime Ecos, Kyle feels a bit tired.  He wakes up in the hospital having suffered a stroke at forty.  His motor functions seem to be fine but he finds out that he is blind.  This will make it impossible for his to continue his work with the animated series.  When his partner Matt informs him that he just received a grant to work on Native American ruins for the next five years, Kyle insists that he go.  Kyle reasons that the spark in the relationship was lost years ago and he should not stand in the way of Matt’s research. 

With the help of his sister Lily, Kyle starts to learn how to live as a blind man.  When Kyle sees spots of light while moving, Matt arranges for Kyle to see a neurologist.  Kyle is experiencing Riddoch syndrome, where previously sighted people can see some things when in motion.  He decides to try running.  As he runs, he begins to see things in motion but is tripped up by a child’s tricycle.  He is helped by Seth Caplan, a man who recently moved by to Chicago to help his mother.  Seth offers to help Kyle home.  He suggests Kyle finding a volunteer to run with.  Kyle contacts the local advocacy agency who sets things up.  Who should call Kyle but Seth?  The men are definitely attracted to each other but each has what they consider baggage that they carry into the possible relationship. 

I really enjoyed this book.  Kyle seems to have everything at the beginning and loses it all within the first couple of chapters.  Kyle, while upset he may never be able to anime again, he rebounds by doing audiobooks and commercials, which do not require synchronization with video.  Seth is a lawyer who quit a large firm to work with a tech company which develops apps for adaptive technology.  He came back to Chicago to help out with his mother who is in the early stages of Alzheimer’s.  Kyle does not want to be a burden due to his blindness while Seth has something in his past he feels guilty about and has not been in a relationship in a while.  The end is definitely a foreseeable happily ever after.

The cover by Anna Sikorska is perfect for this book.  It has what appear to be two runners, bound by tether at the wrist.  It could be from a scene right out of the book. 

Sales Links

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Book Details

ebook, 200 pages
Expected publication: November 7th 2016 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN 1634778928 (ISBN13: 9781634778923)
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Brandon Witt on Picking Titles and ‘Mapping the Forest (Rocky Mountain Boys)’ (author guest post)

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Mapping the Forest by Brandon Witt
Dreamspinner Press

Cover Artist: Anne Cain

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Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to have Brandon Witt here today on his Mapping the Forest tour. Welcome, Brandon!

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In the previous blog tour stop, I spoke about a ‘contest’ of good intentions that had very positive results. However, there was another ‘contest’ associated with Mapping the Forest where the results weren’t so grand.

I was struggling with naming this novel.  I had the titles of the following four books of the series already figured out, but, for some reason, the name of the first one simply wasn’t coming. 

So, I had a brilliant idea.  I held a book-naming contest on Facebook.  I listed a few titles and had people vote. 

I don’t remember the rest of the titles, but the winning one was Forsaking the Forest. 

One of my beta readers didn’t hold back after reading the book.  They hated the title.  Hated it. 

It is a little melodramatic if I’m being honest.  But I just really love the word forsake.  I don’t know what my problem is! 

And, the beta pointed out, no one in the book actually forsakes the forest.  They all really like the forest. 

In the contestants’ defense, all the titles I listed were atrocious. 

So, please consider this my apology if you were one of the readers who participated in the contest.  I’m sorry I gave you horrible names to pick from.  I’m sorry that I broke my word and didn’t keep the atrocious title you picked. I did for a while, saying that I couldn’t go back on the contest. More than one person said I was being an idiot.  Thank the lord for them!

It was my fault.  All my fault.  Not yours.  You’re lovely and beautiful and did nothing to deserve such a dark fate as picking between God-Awful titles. 

No one in this book forsaked (forsook) the forest, but I did end up forsaking that title. 

So, where did the current title come from?

In this novel, both of our loveless heroes are lost in their own different mazes of life and both make their living in and around the national forest of Rocky Mountain National Park, in Estes Park, Colorado.  And though the forest is beautiful and magical, it can also be dark and deadly if you’re unclear of how to navigate the twists and turns of its paths.  For Gabe and Luis, that is true of life.  Unlike with the national park, there is no guide to lead you to the safe stations in life or love.  You have to map it out yourself. 

Please join Gabe and Luis as they begin Mapping their ways out of their Forests and towards each other.

(Dear lord, that was cheesy, huh?  But that really is where the new title came from.)

Please join me on November 9, at Love Bytes, for the next blog tour stop.  We’ve mapped our way through this tour to the final posting. (Dear lord, I literally can’t stop.)  I’ve saved the best for last, where I will introduce you to a four-legged friend who plays a very important role in Mapping the Forest.

Blog Tour Stops:

  • October 28- MM Good Book Reviews
  • November 2 – My Fiction Nook
  • November 3 – Open Skye Book Reviews
  • November 4 – Prism Book Alliance
  • November 4 – The Novel Approach
  • November 7 – Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words  
  • November 9 – Love Bytes

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Mapping the Forest Blurb

Happily ever after has no map, but sometimes fate sends a guiding light.

Gabe Rice, a seasonal ranger at the Rocky Mountain National Park, can’t seem to get his life on the right trail. He loves the rugged beauty of the land, and there is no place he would rather live than the mountain community of Estes Park. But after six years, Gabe is beginning to wonder if he’ll ever get a full-time position or find love. When Gabe sees Luis—and hears his gorgeous singing—he’s compelled to meet him.

Luis Martinez, the new owner of a hotel and steak ride business in Estes, left California and a career as a therapist for a fresh start in Colorado. But even the beauty of the mountains can’t help him forget the past or move forward. Unprepared for his strong attraction to Gabe, Luis is ready to run and hide from emotions he never thought he’d have again.

Suddenly the path ahead opens to a future that looks brighter for both of them, if they can find the courage to walk forward—together.

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Brandon Witt’s Author Bio: 

Brandon Witt’s outlook on life is greatly impacted by his first eighteen years of growing up gay in a small town in the Ozarks, as well as fifteen years as a counselor and special education teacher for students with severe emotional disabilities. Add to that his obsession with corgis and mermaids, then factor in an unhealthy love affair with cheeseburgers, and you realize that with all those issues, he’s got plenty to write about….

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Giveaway

Brandon Witt is including a giveaway for a $5 Amazon gift card.  Leave a comment below and one lucky reader will be chosen by Brandon to receive the gift card.  Be sure to leave your email address where you can be reached if chosen.   Must be 18 years of age or older to enter.  Contest  ends  November 9 at midnight.

Mapping the Forest Links:

Dreamspinner:  http://bit.ly/2dNwokA

Amazon: http://amzn.to/2eGfKFF

Cover Reveal for Cowboys Don’t Come Out by Tara Lain (excerpt and cover reveal)

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Cowboys Don’t Come Out
by Tara Lain
 
Blurb:
Rand McIntyre settles for good enough. He loves his small California ranch, raising horses, and teaching riding to the kids he adores—but having kids of his own and someone to love means coming out, and that would jeopardize everything he’s built. Then, despite his terror of flying, he goes on a holiday to Hana, Hawaii with his parents and meets the dark and mysterious Kai Kealoha, a genuine Hawaiian cowboy. Rand takes to Kai’s kid brother and sister as much as he drools over Kai, but the guy sports more prickles than a horned toad, and more secrets than the exotic land he comes from.
Kai’s earned his privacy and lives to protect his “kids.” He ought to stay away from the big, handsome cowboy for everyone’s sake—but since the guy’s just a haole on a short vacation, how much damage can he do? When all of Kai’s worst fears and Rand’s darkest nightmares come true at once, there’s not much chance for two cowboys who can’t—or won’t—come out.
Release Date: 
December 6, 2016
Available for pre-order at

 

Also available in paperback
Excerpt

By now the place was jumping. People had been squeezing into the cracks ever since they arrived, and the music clearly signaled dancing time. Couples bopped out onto the floor and the Texas two-step, Hawaiian style, began.

Rand slugged back a mouthful of beer. “You wanna?”

“You can dance? Hell yes.”

She was out of the booth and onto the floor in record time. Apparently she didn’t get enough dancing. She’s come to the right place. Dancing R Us. He took her in the semiclose two-step hold and set off onto the floor.

After a couple of twirls and close-hold side-by-sides, she grinned up at him. “You really can dance.”

“As advertised.” That might be the only thing about him that was.

A few people had come to the edge of the dance floor and were clapping Rand and Julie on. Rand released his inner exhibitionist and put on a little show. Julie had no problem keeping up. Suddenly a loud whistle cut through the music, and someone yelled, “Go Kai!”

Rand looked around and saw a guy dancing with a pretty redhead. Whoa. Maybe he should say a pretty guy dancing with a redhead—tallish, lean, with caramel skin that glowed in the soft light, and below-the-ear-length black hair that swayed under his cowboy hat as he danced. And shit, could that guy dance. Graceful, sure-footed, and sexy. Holy hell.

“Hey, can’t stand the competition?”

“What?” Julie grinned at him. Damn, he’d stopped dancing to watch. “Oh, hell no.”

The band segued into something far more up-tempo and fiddle-based. Most of the dancers gave up, but not the beautiful guy. He just stepped it up and out, twirling his partner across the floor. Rand took up the gauntlet, adding in some line-dance steps. Julie picked it up fast, and they held their own. Rand glanced at the other couple and got a stare from Mr. Gorgeous, who filled out his jeans like sin in blue denim, his ass rounding the back and worn fabric cupping his package in front. Stop looking, asshole, before you get a very embarrassing boner.

About the Author

 

Tara Lain writes the Beautiful Boys of Romance in LGBT erotic romance novels that star her unique, charismatic heroes. Her first novel was published in January of 2011 and she’s now somewhere around book 32. Her best-selling novels have garnered awards for Best Series, Best Contemporary Romance, Best Paranormal Romance, Best Ménage, Best LGBT Romance, Best Gay Characters, and Tara has been named Best Writer of the Year in the LRC Awards. In her other job, Tara owns an advertising and public relations firm. She often does workshops on both author promotion and writing craft.  She lives with her soul-mate husband and her soul-mate dog near the sea in California where she sets a lot of her books.  Passionate about diversity, justice, and new experiences, Tara says on her tombstone it will say “Yes”!

 

You can find Tara at Lain

               

 

 

Presented By

 

J.K. Pendragon Talks Editing, Writing Guides, and J.K.’s latest release ‘Junior Hero Blues’ (guest post and giveway)

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Junior Hero Blues by J.K. Pendragon
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iptide Publishing

Cover by: Michelle Fairbanks

Read an Excerpt/Buy It Here

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to have J.K. Pendragon here today to talk about editing their latest release Junior Hero Blues. Welcome, J.K.

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Editing Junior Hero Blues – Before and After

by J.K. Pendragon

Today I want to talk about editing. I was lucky to have a fantastic set of editors for Junior Hero Blues, and the experience was really rewarding. I felt like I was really able to tighten up and improve the book without losing the quirky narrative style, which was something I was worried about.

One of the biggest changes made was an aspect of Riptide’s style guide which says that dialogue tags should be replaced with action tags whenever possible. Here’s an example of the before and after:

Before editing:

“It’s beautiful,” I said, leaning forward and unbuckling my seatbelt. “I think I can see my apartment.”

“My house is over there too,” said Rick. “I never could figure out which one it was though.”

I leaned on the dashboard, standing up a little to see farther. I could feel Rick’s eyes on me as I bent forward, and I almost blushed. I sort of liked it though. I looked over at him and grinned, and he blushed instead.

“Uh.” He looked uncomfortable. “Sorry.”

I sat back. “For what?”

“Nothing.” Rick didn’t seem to know what to do with his hands. He rubbed them together, patted the steering wheel, touched the back of his neck. “I mean, I’m just glad you agreed to come up here with me.”

I fought the urge to hunch forward again. “Do you… actually like me?” I asked.

Rick looked confused. “Of course! Why would I ask you out if I didn’t.”

“It’s just,” I gestured at myself. “I know I’m not like, much of a catch.”

“I think you’re gorgeous.” The way he said it, all serious and passionate sent a shiver down my spine. He was still blushing a little, his neck and face tinged pink. “Really, I even like your glasses and your big sweaters and everything. And I like how you are.” He seemed like he was having trouble expressing himself a bit, but he charged on. “Everyone else is so preoccupied with school, it’s like it’s the only thing about them. But you seem like… like more. Like you’re ready for things to get better, instead of trying to hold on to something that isn’t that great anyway… ” He grimaced and turned his head away. “Sorry, I guess that’s all kind of presumptuous.”

“It’s true though,” I said. “No one’s ever said it like that before, but you’re right. Things will get better. I’ll make them better.”

After editing:

“It’s beautiful.” I unbuckled my seat belt to see better. “I think I can see my apartment.”

“My house is over there too,” said Rick. “I never could figure out which one it was though.”

I leaned on the dashboard, moving forward to see farther. I could feel Rick’s eyes on me as I bent forward, and I almost blushed. I sort of liked it, though. I glanced over at him and grinned, causing him to blush instead.

“Uh.” He looked uncomfortable. “Sorry.”

I sat back. “For what?”

“Nothing.” Rick didn’t seem to know what to do with his hands. He rubbed them together, patted the steering wheel, touched the back of his neck. “I mean, I’m just glad you agreed to come up here with me.”

I fought the urge to hunch forward again. “Do you . . . actually like me?”

“What? Of course! Why would I ask you out if I didn’t?”

“It’s just”—I gestured at myself—“I know I’m not, like, much of a catch.”

“I think you’re gorgeous.” The way he said it, all serious and passionate, sent a shiver down my spine. He was still blushing a little, his neck and face tinged pink. “Really, I even like your glasses and your big sweaters and everything. And I like how you are.”

He seemed to be having trouble expressing himself a bit, but he charged on. “Everyone else is so preoccupied with school, it’s like it’s the only thing about them. But you seem like . . . like more. Like you’re ready for things to get better, instead of trying to hold on to something that isn’t that great anyway . . .” He grimaced and turned his head away. “Sorry, I guess that’s all kind of presumptuous.”

I didn’t think it was presumptuous at all. He’d described me better than I’d ever been able to describe myself. Plus, he thought I was gorgeous? It was lucky I didn’t explode from ego right there. “It’s true though. No one’s ever said it like that before, but you’re right. Things will get better. I’ll make them better.”

So as you can see, there’s not a huge amount of difference, but the differences that are there are important. One particular issue I had was using a dialogue tag followed by an action.  For instance:

“It’s beautiful,” I said, leaning forward and unbuckling my seatbelt.

can easily become:

“It’s beautiful.” I unbuckled my seat belt to see better.

You don’t lose any of the meaning, and the whole thing is tightened up for easier reading. In the case of the last paragraph it’s even better, because when I went to replace the “I said” tag, I ended up having an opportunity to give more insight into the main character’s thoughts, which is always a good thing.

I ended up really liking this style guide rule, and I learned a lot from it. When I’m writing now, I always think “do I need a dialogue tag here, or can the action just serve as the tag?” and I think that’s really streamlined my writing.

Obviously said isn’t dead, and it’s almost always better to just use “said” than an elaborate dialogue tag like “uttered” or “ejaculated.” But there’s also the option of just cutting the dialogue tag entirely, which is something I’ve found super useful, and maybe you will too!

Thanks for reading! Don’t forget to leave a comment with your name and email address for a chance to win one of three $15 Amazon gift cards! Bye!

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About Junior Hero Blues

Last year, Javier Medina was your average socially awkward gay high schooler with a chip on his shoulder. This year, he’s . . . well, pretty much the same, but with bonus superpowers, a costume with an ab window to show off his new goods, and a secret identity as the high-flying, wise-cracking superhero Blue Spark.

But being a Junior Hero means that Javier gets all the responsibility and none of the cool gadgets. It’s hard enough working for the Legion of Liberty and fighting against the evil Organization, all while trying to keep on top of schoolwork and suspicious parents. Add in a hunky boyfriend who’s way out of Javier’s league, and an even hunkier villain who keeps appearing every time said boyfriend mysteriously disappears, and Blue Spark is in for one big dollop of teenage angst. All while engaging in some epic superhero action and, oh yeah, an all-out battle to protect Liberty City from the forces of evil.

Welcome to the 100% true and totally unbiased account of life as a teenage superhero.

About J.K. Pendragon

J.K. Pendragon is a Canadian author with a love of all things romantic and fantastical. They first came to the queer-fiction community through m/m romance, but soon began to branch off into writing other queer fiction. As a bisexual and genderqueer person, J.K. is dedicated to producing diverse, entertaining fiction that showcases characters across the rainbow spectrum, and provides queer characters with the happy endings they are so often denied.

After writing in the romance community for several years, Junior Hero Blues is J.K.’s first book for young adults. Having been very positively affected by the queer books they came across as a teen, J.K. hopes their young adult books can have a similar effect on teens who may have a harder time finding books about people like themselves.

Notable works by J.K. Pendragon include Ink & Flowers, a contemporary romance novel with coming out themes, and To Summon Nightmares, a horror-fantasy that follows the journey of a young trans man into a world of magic and danger. To Summon Nightmares is the winner of the 2015 Rainbow Awards’ Best Transgender Fiction award. J.K. also contributed to Less Than Three Press’s Geek Out: A Collection of Trans and Genderqueer Romance.

J.K. currently resides in British Columbia, Canada, with a boyfriend, a cat, and a large collection of artisanal teas that they really need to get around to drinking. They are always happy to chat, and can be reached at jes.k.pendragon@gmail.com and on twitter @JKPendragon.

Connect with J.K.:

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Giveaway

To celebrate the release of Junior Hero Blues, three lucky winners will receive $15 Amazon gift cards! Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on November 12, 2016. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following the tour, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!