A Jeri Review: Please Don’t Go by Felice Stevens

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Rating: 4 Stars out of 5

please-dont-goI am not a huge fan of novellas because I think it is hard to tell an entire story in so few pages. BUT, when some of your favorite authors have stories in an anthology and then those shorts are released separately? Yes, please. Although this particular book does have some added content that wasn’t in the original.

Friends as teenagers in summer camp, Danny and Paul were as close as they could be. Between summers they connected over the phone-  mostly the slightly older Paul helping the younger Danny with his bullying problem and consoling him because his mother was ill. Until one day his phone call went unanswered.

Fate brings them back together 15 years later. With one man wary of love and the other wanting nothing more than love and a place to call home, they begin.

This was a super sweet book. I just wanted to hug poor Danny. Having Maxi as a side character and his best friend was absolutely perfect. Danny is so sheltered it isn’t a surprise that he doesn’t trust Paul.

On the other hand, I really wish Paul would have told Danny what had happened to make him disappear 15 years ago instead of saying “it doesn’t matter”. But really, that was the only part that bugged me- and that was slight.

For a novella, Ms Stevens packed an entire story in without sacrificing romance, sex or characters. Well done.

Cover art is touching and draws you to the story.

Sales Links

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Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 2nd Edition, 65 pages
Published January 5th 2017 by Felice Stevens
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Edition LanguageEnglish

An Alisa Release Day Review: Camouflage by Jon Keys

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Rating:  3.5 stars out of 5

 

camouflagefs_v1Nash Gallo and Luke Meyers seem like complete opposites on the surface. Nash is a city boy from Atlanta, while Luke is a rancher from rural Oklahoma. Nash is covered in tattoos and piercings, while Luke is self-conscious about his muscular, hairy body. Luke doesn’t have much sexual experience with other men, while Nash has plenty to go around.

 

But both men are lonely, and neither of them has ever been in love.

 

They also both have secrets. For Luke, it’s his shame over an affair with a local closeted and married man, something Nash accepts. Will Luke be as tolerant of what Nash is hiding—his job as a prostitute back in Georgia?

 

A week-long vacation on Luke’s ranch and the idyllic landscapes surrounding it gives both men the chance to relax and explore the attraction growing between them. But can the budding relationship survive secrets and small-town prejudices? As they search for the place where their lives might intersect, Nash and Luke risk far worse than broken hearts.

 

This story seems that it would be complete opposites attract, but not quite.  Nash may seem like the epitome of city boy with the tattoos and piercings, but he grew up in a small town near an army base until he was forced to leave for being gay.  He loves the quietness of Luke’s ranch and the company of the unassuming rancher, but knows his time is limited before he has to go back to his life.

 

Nash and Luke have been video chatting for months and when Nash gets assaulted by his latest John he takes Luke’s offer of a place to stay as the perfect opportunity to get away and heal for awhile.  Luke will do anything for a friend, but can be the shyest person around and for all that Luke has been out forever he has never been on a date or anything for his small minded town to see.  Both of these characters need to heal, but need each other to grow.

 

We get to see both of these character’s points of view, which helps to know what the characters are thinking.  Luke is very open and tells Nash everything about his past and is amazed as Nash’s acceptance.  Nash is open about his youth, but keeps a tight lid on his life in Atlanta; he waits until just before he is to leave before he opens up to Luke about his life because he doesn’t want to see the man he loves look down on him.  I love that it takes the wisdom of and old woman for Nash to decide to not just give up but to fight for them.

 

Cover art by LC Chase gives great visuals of the characters for the story.

 

Sales Links: Dreamspinner Press | Amazon | B&N

 

Book Details:

ebook, 200 pages

Published: January 20, 2017 by Dreamspinner Press

ISBN-13: 9781635332339

Edition Language: English

A Stella Review: Do Not Disturb: 3 Short Stories of Erotic Romance by Chris Scully

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

do-not-disturbChris Scully is one of my favourite authors. I often come back to her stories when I need to warm my heart. I was very enthusiastic to have Do Not Disturb on my hands and I can honestly say it was so much better than what I was expecting. I usually am not a fan of anthologies or collections of short stories, too many times it happens they don’t satisfy me or are too short to be complete. That wasn’t the case for this new release.

In Watch Me, I met Win, who has started working at the Benton Hotel six months ago. Taking care of his father during the day and working at night, is not easy at all. Especially when days at home are really bad. Lucas works the early shift and it is pretty clear he is interested in Win but every attempt Lucas does at starting something is shot down by Win, unconsciously at first until Lucas, pure sensuality as he is, plans to lure Win to him.

For many and different reasons I could emphatize with both main characters and I was so eager for them to find a happy ending. I couldn’t put the Kindle down for a moment. I loved how I was able to know a lot about them, even in so few pages.

Watch Me was the more “complete” short, I met the characters, I saw the interest, the chemistry, the courtship, the sex, the help. A very well done story.

The second short, Wedded, was the shortest and hottest one. At first it could seem just one little scenes where two strangers meet in a bar, fall in bed together and have (let me tell you) hot sex. But it wasn’t just this and although I can’t spoiler more I want to say it was hot and sweet.  I adored it.

Wanted, the third story, was longer and very very good. I was able to actually know the MCs, Evan and Graham, really well, during a chat, a bath, some hot moments. With great dialogues and the promise of HEA,  the author showed me two beautiful souls, both of them survivors in a different way, both of them in need of someone to love and care for. Wanted was an emotional story and I deeply loved it.

I feel I can recommend Do Not Disturb by Chris Scully, to me it was a winner. A collection of three hot shorts, full of feelings and well depicted characters. I couldn’t ask for more.

The cover art by the same author is pretty simple but it couldn’t have been more fitting.

Sales Link

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Book Details:

ebook, 99 pages
Published January 12th 2017 by Chris Scully
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Edition LanguageEnglish

A Lila Audiobook Review: Suddenly Yours by Jacob Z. Flores and John Solo (Narrator)

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Rating: 3.75 stars out of 5

suddenly-yours-audiobookWhat happens in Vegas doesn’t always stay in Vegas.

Cody Hayes is having one epic morning-after. The hangover following a Vegas bachelor party is nothing new to him, and neither is the naked man in his bed.

His apparent marriage is a different story.

Carefully plotting every detail of his life carried Julian Canales to a Senate seat as an openly gay man. A drunken night of Truth or Dare isn’t like him… and neither is marrying a man he just met. He’d get an annulment, but the media has gotten wind of his hasty nuptials. If Julian’s political career is going to survive, he has to stay married to a man who’s his opposite in every way.

Now he must convince Cody that all they need to do is survive a conservative political rival, a heartbroken ex, their painful pasts… and an attraction neither man can fight.

Suddenly Yours is a classic day after tale. Waking up married suited Cody, but challenged Julian’s well-planned life. At the same time, they balanced each other. Something that’s evident from the very beginning. The opening scene sets the stage for the rest of their relationship and gives the readers hope of a happily ever after.

This is when my problem with the story starts. I’m not a fan of stories that go back in time until they meet again later down the road. Prologues are fine as set ups, but having to wait to see how everything happens doesn’t work for me. My lack of patience makes me skim through the pages. I wanted to see their future together, not their past.

When we are finally back in real time, the story moves smoothly. I did enjoy Julian’s and Cody’s banter and easy friendship. I think they were right for each other. I like how Cody took charge and how Julian tries to do his best for his new husband.

The secondary characters fit the story line and added to the couple’s troubles. Their lack of trust in love feeds from them but in the end, they are surprised when the realization of their relationship catches up with them. There’s no one more clueless about their love than Cody and Julian.

John Solo is one of my favorite narrators and he didn’t disappoint. The mirth behind Cody’s words was evident and the rest of the voice transitions flow easily.

Another cover by Bree Archer. The model works perfectly for the story and the standard Dreamspun Desires background complemented the quirkiness of the book.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner |  Audible | iTunes

Audiobook Details:

Narrator: John Solo
Length: 6 hours and 33 minutes

Published:  December 7, 2016 (Audio Edition) by Dreamspinner Press
ASIN: B01MQSQ07S
Edition Language: English

 

Series:  One Fine Day
Book #1: Undercover Boyfriend
Book #2: Suddenly Yours

 

DSP GUEST POST Rayna Vause on Extrasensual Perception

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Extrasensual Perception by Rayna Vause
D
reamspinner Press
Cover art by Paul Richmond

Available for Purchase at

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Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to host Rayna Vause, author of Extrasensual Perception, one of our highly recommended stories.  Welcome, Rayna!

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I want to thank everyone here at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words for having me here today to celebrate the release of my latest novel, Extrasensual Perception, and for taking the time to get to know me a little bit better. This has been an exciting week for me, but I think release weeks is for all authors. So, let’s dive into these questions shall we?

  • Where do you normally draw your inspiration for a book from?  A memory, a myth, a place or journey, or something far more personal?

My inspiration for a story can come from anywhere and everywhere. A news story, a television show, a movie that you would have like to have seen go in a different direction. The possibilities are endless. My book Demon of Mine was inspired by a combination of the show Supernatural and the movie Office Space. My latest release Extrasensual Perception was the result of a writing prompt. We were challenged to look at old school Harlequin romances and write a gay romance in a similar fashion. Some of my favorite category romances were the ones that pushed the boundaries of the line. I was drawn to the books that had paranormal elements such as psychics. So, when I was issued the challenge of writing a Dreamspun desire a psychic seemed like the perfect choice for my book. 

  • Are you a planner or a pantzer when writing a story? And why?

I’m a total planner with a hint of pantser. I need a story road map or I get nowhere fast as I write myself into corners. If I have my outline when I sit down to write, I know what scenes I need. I know what they need to accomplish. The pantsing comes in with how the scene unfolds on the page.

  • Contemporary, supernatural, fantasy, or science fiction narratives or something else?  Does any genre draw you more than another when writing it or reading it and why does it do so?

I have eclectic tastes. I like to read a wide variety of genres. Although you’ve got a better chance of catching my eye if there are paranormal/urban fantasy elements as I like getting caught up in other worlds or alternative realities. When it comes to reading, if it’s an engaging story, with a strong romance and an HEA I’ll go along for the ride.

As to writing, I love paranormal/urban fantasy. I love for me a story is that much more fun to write when I can take the everyday world and toss in something strange and unusual. I love the idea of the werewolf or demon next door. Someone who’s a regular joe, but has the one extra special quirk like magical abilities or shapeshifting. There’s are a certain level of freedom as well as control to paranormal and UF. It’s my world and I make up the rules.

  • If you had a character you’ve written you would write differently now at this time in your writing career, who would it be and why?

At this point, I can’t say that there are characters that I would write differently. As write more and your craft gets stronger. When I look at my books I see things that I would strengthen technique wise, but not in character development.

  • Can an author have favorites among their characters and do you have them?

I absolutely think authors can have favorites among their characters. Generally, it’s the characters in the book I’m working on at that time that are my favorites. However, I will always hold a special place in my heart for the cast of characters in my in-progress Hell Inc. series. The first book being Demon of Mine. My favoritism is likely a byproduct of sentiment. I spent years with these guys. They are the stars of my first full length book to get published. They let me poke and prod at them as I got a better handle on my writing voice and improved my storytelling craft.

  • If you were to be stranded on a small demi-planet, island, or god forbid LaGuardia in a snow storm, what books would you take to read or authors on your comfort list?

Good question. I’d have to say:

Charlie Cochet. I’m absolutely addicted to her Thirds series.

Tere Michaels. I just love the way she tells a story.

Mary Calmes I love Jin and Logan and well pretty much anything Mary has written.

I figure that’s enough to keep me busy for a while. Thank god for ereaders so I can carry the bulk of my library with me. This way I don’t have to choose just a couple books to take with me.   

  • How early in your life did you begin writing?

I started writing in grade school around 5th or 6th grade. I remember having assignments in English class where we were supposed to make up our own fable or tall tale or something. I remember writing this story about how ocean waters become salty (PS it’s because the sky giants knocked over an enormous salt shaker. LOL!) We were always doing creative writing in that class, when we weren’t diagramming sentences, and I absolutely loved it. You know, I think my mom still has some of the short stories I wrote around the house somewhere.

  • Were you an early reader or were you read to and what childhood books had an impact on you as a child that you remember to this day and why?

I was indeed an early reader, but I think that’s because I was read to as a child. As a baby my mom would read to me then as I got older we would take turns reading to each other. Some of the earliest books I remember reading with her was a series about a vampire bunny, the first book in the was entitled Bunnicula. From there we moved on to A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L’Engel, and a bunch of books by Roald Dahl (The Witches, James and the Giant Peach). It seems, even as a child I leaned toward books with a paranormal bent. I don’t remember if these were books that mom choose for us to read or if we picked them together. But I do recall loving every minute of them. I loved the magic and mystery and adventure in these books. I guess they had a bigger impact on me then I realized because in my books I try to incorporate a little magic, a bit of action/adventure, and a ton of fun. That’s what these authors gave me as I was reading the tales the wove and that’s what I hope to give to my readers.

  • What’s coming next?

I’ve got two project in progress at this moment. First another urban fantasy. It’s a contemporary set story where Vampires exist and some humans are not so happy about that. The story features an anti-vampire activist and the vampire that he eventually falls for as they work together to save the activists life as after a vicious vampire attack. The other book is Angel of Mine. This is the second book in the Hell Inc series that features Adrian, an angel, and Leland, a demon. There are two men with centuries of a history and baggage that they have to sort through all while trying to stay alive while on the run from someone who wants Leland dead.

  • If you were writing your life as a romance novel, what would the title be?

It’s not exactly steamy or sexy, but I guess my title would be A Work in Progress and it would be a paranormal romantic comedy featuring a woman who could magically remove all calories from food, a laptop and a cat.

Blurb

If a stalker doesn’t kill them, the heat between them might.

Christopher Vincent is desperate enough for a job that he accepts an offer to entertain as a psychic in a friend’s nightclub. Jackson Whitman, one of the club’s co-owners, is less than thrilled by the new act. To him, psychics are ridiculous and a liability. But when they come face-to-face, attraction flares to life between them.

Someone is watching Jack and Chris from the shadows. What starts as a series of creepy encounters leads to deadly attacks.

Jack and Chris must set aside their differences and work together to survive a homicidal stalker. But can they survive their explosive connection?

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About the Author

Rayna Vause is a lifetime learner who wants to live on a Disney cruise ship travelling the world and thinks purple should be considered a natural hair color. She’s fascinated by the magic and mystery in the world; things like angels, demons, cats (especially cats!) and true love. A proud geek, she injects some of her tech-obsessed soul into every story she writes. When not writing, she’s pursuing another degree, running a conference, working through her massive TBR pile, losing herself in a video game, and plotting her next novel.  

Author links

Website- http://www.raynavause.com

Facebook – http://www.facebook.com/raynavauseauthor

Twitter – http://www.twitter.com/rayna_vause

Jon Keys on his Characters Backgrounds and Camouflage, his latest release (author guest blog)

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Camouflage by Jon Keys
D
reamspinner Press

Cover Artist L.C. Chase

Available for Purchase at

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Also in Dreamspinner Press paperback

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to host Jon Keys today as he talks about his characters in his latest release, Camouflage.  Welcome, Jon!

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Introductions

Thanks so much for letting me visit on the release of my newest novel, Camouflage. This is my first contemporary story in a few years and after months of polishing, and help from the great editors at Dreamspinner Press, I’m thrilled with the final version.

I thought you would be interested in more of Luke’s background. Our cowboy has lived on the same ranch for most of his life and inherited it when his grandparents passed away five or six years ago. His parents died in a tragic automobile wreck when he was a toddler. He was so young his grandparents became the people he thought of as his parents. He’d also told them he was gay while he was a senior in high school. They were surprised. He didn’t act the way they imagined. He was so involved with his sports, and his livestock. But they adjusted to the idea and became his biggest supporters.

Chris, who has been his friend since they were toddlers, was the first person he came out to. It wasn’t a surprise to her though. He had stammered and stuttered through ten minutes of false starts before he’d got out “I’m gay”. Chris’s response? “Well yeah. So what? I wasn’t looking to date you.” They had the same interests, roping, livestock, things like that. But they had each other’s back, regardless.

Luke had a crush on one of his classmates in college too. He had it bad. Blake was about the same height as Luke, but without the muscles from wrestling. He always wore Wranglers that were tight enough to leave little to the imagination. His short blond hair and deep tan got Matt’s motor running. He crushed on Blake for several years and was the source of a lot of fantasies. But the reality was Blake belonged to a church with very narrow view of same-sex relationships. When they were juniors, Blake married a girl from his hometown and they drifted apart.

So there are a few more details about Luke, and more insight into how he got where he was. I hope you enjoy the story of Luke and Nash’s relationship.

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Blurb:

Nash Gallo and Luke Meyers seem like complete opposites on the surface. Nash is a city boy from Atlanta, while Luke is a rancher from rural Oklahoma. Nash is covered in tattoos and piercings, while Luke is self-conscious about his muscular, hairy body. Luke doesn’t have much sexual experience with other men, while Nash has plenty to go around.

But both men are lonely, and neither of them has ever been in love.

They also both have secrets. For Luke, it’s his shame over an affair with a local closeted and married man, something Nash accepts. Will Luke be as tolerant of what Nash is hiding—his job as a prostitute back in Georgia?

A week-long vacation on Luke’s ranch and the idyllic landscapes surrounding it gives both men the chance to relax and explore the attraction growing between them. But can the budding relationship survive secrets and small-town prejudices? As they search for the place where their lives might intersect, Nash and Luke risk far worse than broken hearts.

Author Bio

Jon Keys’ earliest memories revolve around books; with the first ones he can recall reading himself being “The Warlord of Mars” and anything with Tarzan. (The local library wasn’t particularly up to date.) But as puberty set in he started sneaking his mother’s romance magazines and added the world of romance and erotica to his mix of science fiction, fantasy, Native American, westerns and comic books.

A voracious reader for almost half a century, Jon has only recently begun creating his own flights of fiction for the entertainment of others. Born in the Southwest and now living in the Midwest, Jon has worked as a ranch hand, teacher, computer tech, roughneck, designer, retail clerk, welder, artist, and, yes, pool boy; with interests ranging from kayaking and hunting to painting and cooking, he draws from a wide range of life experiences to create written works that draw the reader in and wrap them in a good story.

Social Media:

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Excerpt from Camouflage

Nash watched Luke as they drove down the road toward town. He’d looked good at the airport, at least what Nash could remember before Luke ran through the pouring rain, but once he cleaned up he was outstanding. The pullover shirt tapered to his hips, and Nash licked his lips in appreciation. Even more importantly, he seems like a nice guy. Not that I’m a great judge.

“So what do you think?”

Nash jumped, afraid he’d been busted. But he realized the question wasn’t what he’d thought when Luke motioned at the scenery that rolled past.

“The house is cool. I mean, you have all that space to yourself. It’s so quiet too. I don’t know how I’m going to sleep without sirens and squealing brakes.”

Luke fixed his eyes on the road ahead, his knuckles white on the steering wheel. “Yeah. It’s quiet most of the time.”

“Sorry. I forgot how you got it.”

“It’s okay. I just miss them a lot.”

Nash reached over, patted Luke’s leg, and gave it a squeeze. “Sorry, but at least you had someone who loved you.”

Luke started to say something, but Nash interrupted, not wanting him to get too inquisitive. “So, we’re going for barbecue? I love pulled pork.”

“This might be more Texas barbecue than you’re used to. I always get the brisket.”

“And you like their fries, right?”

Luke glanced over at him. “How did you know that?”

“Oh I don’t know, maybe because you told me one night when we were chatting.”

Luke relaxed his grip on the wheel and a grin appeared. “Oh. Yeah, I guess I did.” He looked over to Nash and then refocused on the road. “Makes me wonder what else I’ve told you and forgot.”

Nash chuckled and twisted in the seat so he faced Luke. “Let’s see. You like corn dogs with mustard and ketchup, which is disgusting. You also like to rope, but you can’t help but worry about the calves sometimes. What else….”

“Okay, okay. You’ve made your point. Enough Luke stories. And why don’t I know any of your embarrassing habits?”

Nash’s relaxed moment faded and he turned back to the wall of trees they were driving through. “Nothing worth sharing. Especially nothing as cute as how you got the crescent-shaped scar on your butt.”

“There was nothing cute about that. The damn dog was trying to kill me.”

“It’s the owner’s fault. They make the dogs mean.”

“Whatever. The owner didn’t bite me.”

They drove the rest of the way in silence. The typical small-town business staples rolled past as they got closer to their destination. Looks familiar, a lifetime and a thousand miles ago.

“You hungry?” Luke asked.

Nash’s stomach picked that point to rumble. “From that sound you’d think I was about to starve.”

“Good, ’cause we’re there.” Luke turned into the parking lot as Nash checked out the low-slung building with its simple “BBQ” sign in front. As Luke searched for a parking spot, Nash inhaled the hickory-smoke-laden air. When they rounded the back of the place, Nash spotted the monstrous black behemoth filling the area with the scent of meats of every kind.

They found a place to park and made their way inside. Luke threaded his way to the counter with Nash close behind. A smiling woman with her blonde hair pulled back motioned them closer. “What sounds good tonight, Luke?” she asked.

“I think a couple of the sampler plates and two sweet teas.”

She looked knowingly at Nash. “And fries. He always has fries.”

Luke grinned and shrugged. “Guilty. They’re the best.”

The woman motioned toward an empty table. “Grab a seat and I’ll bring it out to you.”

A short time later Nash had both elbows propped on the table and was halfway through a side of ribs. “You were right. The hot barbecue sauce is killer.”

Luke swallowed the piece of brisket he was working on and looked at Nash. “Told you. The beans are great too. The place isn’t fancy, but it’s delicious food.”

Nash pulled off another rib and gnawed it like an ear of corn. The food was good, but he thought the company was better. Feeling a little ornery, he leaned closer to Luke, making smacking noises, knowing his face was smeared with sauce.

“Hey, what’d you think? Want some of this?”

With a nervous laugh, Luke glanced around them. “Knock it off, you goof. You’ve got barbecue all over you.”

Nash gathered up a few paper towels and wiped his face. After considering Luke, he leaned across the table. “You okay? If me teasing around is making you uncomfortable….”

“No, it’s okay. I don’t mind.”

“Then what’s making you so uptight?”

“They might think it’s more than friends out for barbecue. I haven’t really been out with anyone before.”

“You’ve never been on a date?”

“Not really. I went out a few times in college, but not since coming back.” Luke paused and glanced at Nash before he continued. “Yeah, nothing I’d call a date.

“You’ve been out of college for a while. How could you not date? I thought you were out.”

“Oh, they know, but you know little towns and all their crap. It’s—” Luke stopped, and his eyes locked on the business’s door as it swung open.

Nash wondered what was going on when a mass of people swept through the entrance. They all seemed loud and excited. He watched closely and turned to Luke. “What’s going on? Did everyone get their egg money at once?”

“The high school football game’s over. It’s more important than money, at least around here.”

Nash watched the crowd for a few more seconds before he shrugged. “Doesn’t take much to get some people worked up, I guess.”

“No, it doesn’t.” Luke glanced at the crowd again, and he went rigid.

Nash looked again but couldn’t see anything more than the same milling throng. “What’s wrong?”

“Not a big deal. You ready to go? We could stop for some ice cream at—”

Nash laid his hands on top of one of Luke’s. “You might as well tell me. I’m going to worm it out of you eventually anyway, even if it takes liquor.”

Luke sighed deeply. “I suppose. It’s not like I’ll be able to avoid him the whole time you’re here.”

Nash waited for Luke to continue, but he realized more information wasn’t going to happen soon if he didn’t help it along. So he gave it another shot. “He who? What’s going on? You know you can talk to me. Hell, if it’s making you nervous, text it to me.”

“Yeah, apparently I’m a blabbermouth around you. So, you might as well know. My sort of ex just walked in. Long story.”

“Your ex? I thought….”

“Like I said, it’s complicated. Do you mind if we go somewhere else for dessert?”

Nash considered saying something, then decided against it. Instead he looked over the people, trying to decide which one was Luke’s former lover. His curiosity got the best of him. “Which one?”

“The blond guy with the red shirt that says ‘Stillwell Indians.’”

Nash started chuckling. “You’re kidding me, right? They’re all wearing a red Indians jersey.”

“Him. The guy in the corner….”

Nash looked again, and this time immediately spotted who Luke must be talking about. Almost as tall as Nash, but with the build of a fading high school football star. He was at the center of the mob of men waiting by the door and talking loudly.

Nash glanced at Luke. “The big blond guy everyone seems to want to talk to?”

“Yeah. His name’s Bobby. Robert Doyle.”

Killian B. Brewer on Writing, and his release ‘Lunch With the Do Nothings at the Tammy Dinette by Killian B. Brewer (author interview, excerpt and giveaway)

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Lunch With the Do Nothings at the Tammy Dinette

by Killian B. Brewer
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Cover Design by C.B. Messer

Purchase Links

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Today Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is very lucky to be interviewing Killian Brewer author of Lunch with the Do-Nothings at the Tammy Dinette.

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Hi Killian, thank you for agreeing to this interview. Tell us a little about yourself, your background, and your current book.

Hey, y’all! I’m Killian Brewer, though most people just call me Brew. I’m a Southern boy, raised in the land of peaches and peanuts. I grew up in a tiny little town in a house where we would entertain each other by telling stories. My father can spin a yarn with the best of them and taught me early to enjoy the fellowship of storytelling. I went to college and earned my degree in English Literature, mostly because of my love of a good story. Of course, like most English majors, I don’t use that degree at all in my day job, but it does come in handy for my writing.

My current novel, Lunch with the Do-Nothings at the Tammy Dinette, was inspired by the people I grew up around in South Georgia. I wanted to explore what life could be like for a young gay man who is suddenly transplanted in a small town with little understanding of the way of life there. In particular, I wanted to follow his search for love and a sense of family in a world where he feels like a fish out of water. I also wanted to write about older southern women, because I think they are awesome.

  • What is the biggest thing people think they know about your subject/genre that isn’t so?

I think a lot of people assume that most people in the South are conservative, close-minded and bigoted. While it is true that we have more than our fair share of people like that, I discover that the older I get the more people I meet who are not that way. One big area where this has changed is acceptance of LGBTQ people and issues. As a teenager, I never could have imagined living as an openly gay person in Georgia. But now I do just that. My very religious and conservative family and friends have come a long way and are now very open and accepting of me and my partner. I think the biggest reason for this change is that with more people being out of the closet, Southerners are discovering they already know and love someone who is gay. Once you realize you care for one gay person, it is easier to be accepting of all gay people.

  • What are some references you used while writing this book?

I really didn’t have to use too many references while writing this book since so much of it is based on my own life experience. The ways of small-town life are very familiar to me and these women in this book are all amalgamations of various women I grew up around. However, I did find myself on the web checking on diner slang. I knew a few phrases from many a late night cup of joe at the local diner, but I needed more to flesh out the story. I found a few websites that listed diner slang, and found myself laughing out loud at some of the funnier phrases. I also had to check the web a few times to make sure that references I made to some classic country singers were accurate.

  1. Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?

My family is a group of storytellers. Whenever we are together, eventually the conversation rolls around to everyone telling their favorite stories from our past and amusing anecdotes about people we all know. Humor is always an important part of these stories. We also love wordplay, puns and music. In college, I decided to take some writing classes and discovered that the storytelling I grew up learning from my family translated well into writing. I was always a voracious reader as well, but would sometimes find myself wishing a story had gone a different direction. From this I began to think of my own stories that I would like to tell.

  • What do your plans for future projects include?

I currently have several projects in the very early stages. Most of them are just ideas for characters and situations that I need to see what they can develop into. One is a much darker and less humorous story than I normally write. Another involves a paranormal element, which will be a departure for me in style as well. But mainly, I am working on a possible sequel to Lunch with the Do-Nothings at the Tammy Dinette that will focus more on the lives of the waitresses who work in the diner and one of the supporting characters, Skeet Warner.

  • Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?

Mainly that I hope they will enjoy spending time in the little town that I have created. I love my home state of Georgia and it pleases me to be sharing a(albeit fictionalized) piece of it with the world. I also encourage my readers to create their own Do-Nothing club. Find a group of people you really enjoy being around and set aside a little time each week or month to get together and do absolutely nothing. I think the enjoyment and fellowship it brings will be infinitely rewarding.

lunch-with-the-do-nothings-at-the-tammy-dinette

Blurb

When Marcus Sumter, a short order cook with dreams of being a chef, inherits a house in small town Marathon, Georgia, he leaves his big city life behind. Marcus intends to sell the house to finance his dreams, but a group of lovable busybodies called the Do Nothings, a new job at the local diner, the Tammy Dinette, and a handsome mechanic named Hank cause Marcus to rethink his plans. Will he return to the life he knew, or will he finally put down roots?

Excerpt

The diner took up a quarter of the city block; its silvery siding glimmered in the morning sun. A metal bracket jutted over the diner door and held a bright neon sign that flashed The Tammy Dinette: Stand By your Ham and Eggs. Below the sign, two tall and wide single-paned windows showed the bustle of the crowd inside. Marcus could see that most of the booths along the windows were occupied, and a tall redheaded waitress stood next to one of the booths furiously scribbling on a pad and nodding her head.

“Let’s go,” Skeet said as he hopped to the door and yanked it open. He swept his arm across his body and said in a terrible British accent, “After you, my good sir.”

Marcus grinned at the boy and stepped into the diner. The sudden rush of country music mixed with the murmur of the restaurant crowd, the smell of greasy food and coffee, and the glare of fluorescent lights from the Formica tables and counter tops flooded Marcus with a sense of relief and comfort. The last bits of tension slipped from his shoulders as he watched the two waitresses in pink uniform tops and skirts scurry from table to table as different patrons raised their hands to get each woman’s attention.

**

“Now sign here.” Raff pointed out a line at the bottom of a paper. “Then initial here.”

Marcus scribbled his name where instructed, then set the pen gently on the table. He read the final paragraph of the will to himself one more time. To my grandson Marcus, I leave all my other worldly possessions, my assets and most importantly, my house, so that maybe, just once in his life, that poor boy can have a real home.

“So, it’s all mine?”

“Well, it has to go through probate and such, but yes. Basically, it’s all yours.”

“And I have to live in the house? I mean, she says she wants it to be my home.”

“Oh, good lord, boy,” Helen said and laughed. “Your grandmother was a former mayor’s wife, not the queen of England. It’s a will, not a proclamation.”

“My mother is correct. You can do with the assets as you see fit, once her few debts are paid off.”

“So I could sell it?”

“If that’s what you desire. As a matter of fact, my wife, Katie Nell, is one of the most successful realtors in Marathon. I’m sure she could sell it for you in a heartbeat if you want.”

“Raff, you quit trying to drum up business for that nitwit wife of yours.” Helen picked up the pen from the table and inspected it before opening her purse and dropping it in. “Marcus, you don’t have to decide anything right now. Why don’t you spend a little time here and see what you want to do with it? How soon do you have to be back where you came from? Back in…?”

“Um, Atlanta.” Marcus let his eyes wander off from Helen to the photographs on the wall behind her. “No rush. Nothing important waiting on me there.”

“Then it’s settled. You stay here for a few weeks at least and see what you want to do. The other Do Nothings and I have already gone through your grandmother’s house and got it nice and clean for you. Of course, there’s no real food in there, but we’ll get you settled, and I’ll bring over something for you to eat tonight. Tomorrow, we will run you up to the Piggly Wiggly and stock you up.”

“Well, I guess I can stay until the house sells at least.” Marcus looked at the table as Raff slid a manila envelope across the table to him.

“Here are your copies of all the paperwork. There are a bunch of things in there. Here are the keys to the house.” Raff pushed a key ring across the table. “And I wrote Katie Nell’s number on the front of the envelope so when you get ready to sell—”

If you sell it,” Helen interrupted her son. “You never know, little man, we might just charm you into staying.”

**

Over the course of the next month, Marcus fell easily into the rhythm of his new life in the diner. The black ring around his eye faded, and thoughts of Robert and his mangled car began to fade as well. Francine and he perfected their frenzied dance around each other behind the grill when the diner was filled to capacity. As he worked, the familiar tools of spatula, whisk, and knife once again became extensions of his hand, and the smells of bacon frying and eggs cooking made his appetite for food and life return. The silly names the sisters invented for customers made Marcus belly laugh, the sensation of it bubbling up in his chest an almost-forgotten pleasure. With each passing day, it grew easier to rise early in the morning and catch a ride to the diner with Francine or one of the girls.

The only part of the day he dreaded was life outside the diner and returning to a too-quiet house filled with photographs of people who shared his face and name, but who were complete strangers. The house was in theory his home, but it still seemed as if he was intruding on someone else’s space. He hadn’t bothered to unpack the few clothes left in his duffel bag or put away the clean clothes from the laundry basket on the bedroom floor. In the silence of his grandmother’s house, he would hear the ringing of Robert’s plaintive texts, the nagging thoughts about what to do with his wrecked car, and the haunting words of his mother, “Baby, it’s time to move on.”

More and more, he lingered well past the end of his shift at the diner to avoid going to the house. Usually he would end his day by wandering over to the Do Nothing’s corner booth to check on the latest town gossip or to see how preparations for the hoedown were going. Marcus would shuffle his way into the booth and tuck himself between Helen and Inez so that the women could explain to him who each person they gossiped about was. Most of the names meant nothing to him until he began to connect them with their usual orders, just as he had at the Waffle Barn. The more stories the Do Nothings told about the customers who hurried in and out of the diner daily, the more the citizens of Marathon seemed like friends. He would sit happily silent and let the women’s laughter and rapid-fire words sooth his work-weary muscles as he sank into the padding of the booth.

But not today.

He had finished cleaning the cooking area, flung his apron onto its hook, and headed into the dining room. He’d been tired but, for the first time since Robert had pressured him to quit working at the Waffle Barn in Atlanta, he’d felt useful again. As he’d reached the kitchen door, he’d caught a glimpse of himself in the mirror. Despite the hard work and grueling heat of the kitchen, he’d seen that he wore a pleased smile, a smile he wasn’t sure he had worn since the days after his mother and before Robert. He’d straightened his back and nodded at himself in the mirror. Hello, stranger. Where’ve you been? With the smile lingering on his lips, he had glanced through the porthole window in the swinging door and seen Hank Hudson standing at the counter.

**

About the Author

Killian B. Brewer grew up in a family where the best way to be heard was to tell a good story, therefore he developed an early love of storytelling, puns and wordplay. He began writing poetry and short fiction at 15 and continued in college where he earned a BA in English. He does not use this degree in his job in the banking industry. He currently lives in Georgia with his partner and their dog. Growing up in the South gave him a funny accent and a love of grits. The Rules of Ever After is his first novel.

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