A.R. Barley On Writing, Research, and her story, The Shore Thing (author guest blog)

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The Shore Thing (States of Love) by A.R. Barley
Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: Brooke Albrecht

Buy Links: Dreamspinner Press |  Amazon | Amazon UK |  Barnes and Noble  

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to have A.R. Barley here today talking about writing, research, and her next story, The Shore Thing. Welcome,  A.R.!

✒︎

 

Hi! My name’s A.R. Barley and I’m talking about The Shore Thing. Thanks for having me!

Does research play a role into choosing which genre you write?  Do you enjoy research or prefer making up your worlds and cultures?

I love making up my own culture. I’m in the middle of writing the next book in my Hoppity series (bunny shifters, very cute) and I also love writing about things that are true to life. I wrote the Shore Thing about one of my favorite states, Delaware, and from picking crabs to swimming in the waves, I like to think I’ve checked out most things the state has to offer. In fact, I got a couple of notes back from my editor that were like “this is confusing, this would never happen” and I was like “that’s the stuff that’s based on real life.” It’s still in there.

Have you ever had to put an ‘in progress’ story aside because of the emotional ties with it?  You were hurting with the characters or didn’t know how to proceed?

Absolutely, I mentioned my current Hoppity book? It’s on hold because I’m not sure how much of the ongoing series plot to reveal in this book. Don’t worry though, I’ll finish it soon!

Do you like HFN or HEA? And why?

I love a happily ever after, and so do my characters. Nico and Dale, the main characters of The Shore Thing start out in very different places. It’s what they learn along the way (how to accept their own flaws and really listen to each other) that makes them ready for a long term relationship. After everything they’ve been through, if they didn’t get a happily ever after it would be tragic.

How do you feel about the ebook format and where do you see it going?

I think that ebooks are great, especially for romance novels. Yes, there’s a lot more competition in the market but you also see sub genres springing up (like gay romance) that would never have had a chance in an older publishing environment.

What’s next for you as an author?

As an author? Lots! I’ve got a new series coming out at the end of the year (firefighters in NYC) and I’m working on Hoppity book 3. I’m also thinking about writing another fun in the sun book because I loved The Shore Thing so much! Of course, I’m always open to suggestions from readers. What do you want to see?

Thanks for having me!

Blurb

Sunburned Delaware native Dale Seward spends his summers wrangling lifeguards and cracking crabs. His winters are a whole lot colder.

Nico Travelli’s never even seen the ocean, but when his family’s plans for him get derailed, he realizes his future in their upscale Italian restaurants might be over, and it’s time for something new. He’s hypnotized by his first look at the Atlantic—until a wave takes him out. Luckily, Dale’s there to pull him to safety.

Dale knows better than to fall for a summer person, but that doesn’t mean he can’t show Nico a good time. Between the ice cream cones and the put-put golf, these two lonely hearts soon find themselves in over their heads.

But when Nico is tempted by a second chance at the life he always thought he wanted, will he be brave enough to give it up for the possibility of true love with Dale? And what does the sexy lifeguard do during the winter? In a state as small as Delaware, secrets are bound to come out.

States of Love: Stories of romance that span every corner of the United States.

About the Author

A.R. Barley lives in the Motor City with a dog (who’s currently annoying the cat), a cat (who’s doing his best to avoid the dog), and an engineer. She likes hot drinks, hotter novels, and ice cream. She writes seven days a week (when she’s not playing referee to the dog and the cat) and is always happy to hear from readers on Facebook and Twitter. 

She loves the ocean.

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An Ali Audiobook Review: Draakenwood (Whyborne & Griffin #9) by Jordan L. Hawk and Julian G. Simmons (Narrator)

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Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Someone is killing members of the old families…and the evidence points to Whyborne.

Widdershins has been unusually quiet for months. But now a mysterious creature from the Outside is on the loose, assassinating members of the town’s old families by draining their blood. Whyborne and Griffin set out to solve the mystery—but as the evidence piles up, the police begin to suspect Whyborne himself is the murderer.

Now Whyborne must both clear his name and stop the horrors the monster threatens to unleash. His only hope: an alliance with his old enemies the Endicotts.

Because something terrible lurks in the Draakenwood, and it will stop at nothing to seize control of the maelstrom itself.

Draakenwood is the ninth book in the Whyborne & Griffin series, where magic, mystery, and m/m romance collide with Victorian era America.
Every time I read a book in this series I wonder how the author keeps coming up with such unique plots that keep me entertained from the first page until the end.  This book was no exception.  Whyborne and Griffin are drawn in to another mystery when members of the town’s old families begin to die in mysterious ways.  They are still trying to figure out the Fideles and Whyborne is worrying about his role in things.  He is a bit overwhelmed in some ways and he misses the easier times he and Griffin had in the past. 
The plot itself is fast paced and full of adventure.  It’s also pretty creepy in places.  In addition to a constant supply of new plots, the author manages to give us a constant supply of new kinds of monsters.  The ones in this book were some of the scariest we’ve seen. There are a lot of the side characters we’ve grown to love in the course of the series such as Christine (who I want to be when I grow up) and Persephone, as well as others we may not care for so much, such as Whyborne’s father.
This audio book was narrated by Julian G. Simmons and I thought he did a very good job. I felt like he did both Whyborne and Griffin in distinctive manners that made each other them stand out.  He also did a good job on the side characters and there were quite a few for this audio.  I have not listened to this narrator before but will definitely try him again.
Overall, I really enjoyed this.  I thought it was a very fun installation in this series.  I had read all of the previous books and this was my first audio version.  I enjoyed it a lot though and may do the next on audio also.  
Cover Art by Lou Harper:  Unfortunately I really dislike the cover.  I am not at all a fan of the cover re-dos for this series.  I wish the author had left them like they were.  I was so bummed the day I turned on my Kindle to discover my old covered books had automatically turned over to these new ones. 

Sales Links

Audible | Amazon | iTunes

Audiobook Details:
Audible Audio
Published July 24th 2017 by Widdershins Press LLC (first published June 2nd 2017)
ASINB0743M4SWD
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesWhyborne & Griffin #9 settingWiddershins, Massashusetts (United States)
Massachusetts (United States)

A MelanieM Release Day Review: Remember When by SJD Peterson

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Rating: 2 stars out of 5

Life is simple and hopeful in youth. Luke and Nelson are best friends exploring their budding sexuality. They have big plans for the future, and nothing can stand in their way or tear them apart—except a family move that puts a continent between them.

Ten years later Luke and Nelson meet again, but nothing is simple anymore. As strong as the attraction remains, obligations and expectations come between them as Luke is forced to honor family responsibilities over the desires of his heart.

Impossibly fate sees fit to offer them a last opportunity to see what might have been. Will the third time be the charm, or is trust so badly broken it is impossible to repair? Can they recapture the innocent love they once knew and make up for all the wasted years? In a love story that spans half a lifetime, two friends destined for each other will have to fight hard for their happily ever after.

This is not the book review I wanted to write.

Mostly because I don’t enjoy telling readers and authors how much I disliked a story but there’s no getting around it here.  I can count on one hand how many books I have disliked as much as this one.  It barely scarpered up to two star rating and that’s only because the characters, Luke in particular was nauseating enough to make me dislike him to this degree that the writing must be good enough to warrant that much.

This was a story where two characters meet, one hurts the other repeatedly, the other lets him do it doormat style and then after all the years pass let’s him back into his life again.  In one case, Luke even admits he knowingly wants to keep Nelson on the side even if it hurts him, he wants it all.  This character is so blandly stomach churning that he made this book a DNF several times for me.  Only my stubbornness and inability to believe this idiocy wouldn’t continue to the end kept me going.  Of course it did.

So I’m not even going to recap it here.  I disliked the plot, the immaturity of the characters, even after they met years apart, the continued “doormat” quality of Nelson’s character.  Nelson needed a therapist and a lock, not a reunion.  Above all I disliked this couple! I disliked the excuses for their actions and their acceptance of it.  There is so much that will make you sit back and think “wtf” here.  It’s more than troubling. And this is coming from someone who loves, I mean LOVES the “second chance-lovers reunited” trope stories.

Even now I’m thinking those 2 stars might be generous.  Shakes head.

Cover Artist: Garrett Leigh.  The cover is definitely the best thing about this story.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 210 pages
Expected publication: August 28th 2017 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN139781635336795
Edition LanguageEnglish

An Alisa Review: Protecting Max by Edward Kendrick

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Rating:  3.5 stars out of 5

 

Twelve years ago, Max Harman survived a vicious attack by his ex-lover Tony. It severed their relationship and landed Tony in prison.

 

When Tony’s released from jail, Max’s nephew Jack fears the man may seek revenge on his uncle. Wanting to buy a gun for protection, he visits Deacon Young’s shop. Deacon convinces him to bring Max by to do the same. Despite his misgivings, Max gets a gun for security, too.

 

When Jack’s fears prove to be correct and Tony starts to stalk Max, Deacon steps in to try to protect him. Can Max’s growing interest in Deacon — and vice versa — survive Tony’s escalating reign of terror?

 

This was a nice story.  Max has been his nephew, Jack’s, guardian since he was six and Jack doesn’t want a repeat of twelve years ago when he found his uncle bleeding on the floor.  After some convincing (not as much as you would think for someone who hates guns) he gets Max to get a gun for protection.

 

We see this story mostly from Max’s point of view so it is easy to understand his thoughts and feelings.  We also get to see a little from Jack which really shows how worried he is about his uncle.  Max and Tony take their relationship slowly and don’t even really begin to work at it until after the danger is gone.  They both don’t want to get emotional with all of the stuff going on and have it hurt them in the future.  Tony quickly becomes an important person in their life even if he could possibly only be a friend in the future, he wants to help keep Max safe along with Jack.  The story of these two was really part of the background until Tony is caught which I think worked out well.

 

The cover art by Written Ink Designs is very nice and works well for this story.

 

Sales Links: JMS Books | Amazon | B&N

 

Book Details:

ebook, 140 pages

Published: July 29, 2017 by JMS Books

ISBN: 9781634864268

Edition Language: English

Mark David Campbell on Writing, Characters and his latest novel ‘Eating the Moon’ (author interview)

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Eating the Moon by Mark David Campbell
DSP Publications

Cover Artist: Anna Sikorska

Buy Link:  DSP Publications

Release Date:  August 29, 2017

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to host Mark David Campbell today. Welcome, Mark!

♦︎

~ Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words Interview with Mark David Campbell ~

 

How much of yourself goes into a character?

I am inspired by people I know and with each character I discover qualities that are admirable and sometimes shameful but in the end, I suspect that all my characters come from somewhere deep inside me.

Do you feel there’s a tight line between Mary Sue or should I say Gary Stu and using your own experiences to create a character?

I never set out to create a character, as such. I imagine a situation or reflect on an experience or fantasy and sooner or later a character appears and begins a conversations. Before I know it other characters have joined in the conversation and that’s when I feel a story is emerging.

Does research play a role into choosing which genre you write?  Do you enjoy research or prefer making up your worlds and cultures?

After so many years studying anthropology, I have to say that everything I write is shaped and informed by that rare and wonderful way of looking at humanity and the human experience.

Has your choice of childhood or teenage reading genres carried into your own choices for writing?

Yes, but in a very convoluted way. I have a learning disability and reading was very difficult for me as a child, so I became a day-dreamer and invented my own stories and adventures in my head. I developed an effective strategy for reading academic texts but this was far from pleasurable. It wasn’t until I was living in a small village in the jungle of Central America doing research that I learned to read for pleasure and discovered the joy of fiction.

Have you ever had to put an ‘in progress’ story aside because of the emotional ties with it?  You were hurting with the characters or didn’t know how to proceed?

Not unlike many LGBTIQ people, I lost my family a number of years ago and I still have, and probably always will have, many issues that are just too painful for me to explore in my writing.

Do you like HFN or HEA? And why?

I don’t know what they are, but if they’re an acronym for a brand of beer or type of pizza I probably like both of them.

Do you read romances, as a teenager and as an adult?

I confess, my first love affair with romance fiction was with Danielle Steel, when I was an adult.

Who do you think is your major influence as a writer?  Now and growing up?

Easy. Margaret Atwood, E. M. Forester, Somerset Maugham and of course the old adventure classics like R. L. Stevenson, Joseph Conrad and Jules Verne. I also love short stories. I especially like collections of gay short stories.

What do you read, mostly.

I’ll read anything that’s good. I particularly look for adventure and character development with a strong storyline. I prefer books which have an original perspective or take on a situation. I’m not attracted to books which are sensational, over technical or celebrity worship and I don’t read books with graphic violence and explicit torture scenes, even if the book is generally well written.

Of course, I’ve always been drawn to books and stories with a queer perspective because I’m gay and I can relate to them. The heteronormative perspective can be like a tsunami, pretty much drowning out everything else; TV, radio, advertising, the internet… Reading a queer novel, is like holding my head up out of the water and taking a breath of fresh air.

How do you feel about the ebook format and where do you see it going?

The future will be ebooks. They are convenient, portable and cheap. But ebooks are less intimate and can’t completely replace the feel and experience of reading through the pages of a classic paper book.

How do you choose your covers? longing (curious on my part)

I wanted the cover to reflect the mystery and melancholy of the story and it needed three elements; the moon, the sea and a lone figure.

Do you have a favorite among your own stories?  And why?

I have many favorites. As far as characters go, I think most writers teeter on the edge of insanity where we often have trouble distinguishing between our characters and real life people. So for me, my favorite parts are when Guy is on the island, hanging out with Nando and Pico or fishing with Kizo, Luca and Pico, amongst his friends who love and accept him.

What’s next for you as an author?

I’ve just finished the first draft of my next book which is a tale of a little biobot (part biological, part mechanical), aged thirteen years old, named Sonny Boy, who learns to understand what it means to be loved and to love.

What are your hopes for this book?

I want this book to be the kind of story that stays with the reader on a very intimate level. I want to reader to feel like the island is their personal escape that they can return to, time and time again.

Eating the Moon

What if there was a place that nobody else knew about – a secret place – where everyone was queer?’ That’s the question Guy, a 70 year old, lonely gay anthropology professor asks Richard, his 32 year old psychiatrist. During their twice weekly sessions, Guy tells Richard a fantastic tale of his experience as a young man bound for Cuba on a cargo ship which sinks in the Bermuda triangle. Guy and the first mate Luca are washed up on the shore of an uncharted tropical island and discover a complex society where almost everyone is homosexual.

Eating the Moon takes you on an erotic tropical vacation to a place where all your fantasies of homosexual love and sex can come true, but as both Guy and Luca soon discover, even paradise comes with a cost.

About the author

Mark David Campbell is a Canadian who has lived in Italy for the past seventeen years where he teaches, writes and paints, moving between Lago Maggiore and Milan with his husband. Prior to moving to Italy, he spent twenty years studying and working in archaeology and anthropology in Canada, Central America, Jordan, Egypt and Greece and earned his Ph.D. in social cultural anthropology from the University of Toronto where he taught as a part-time professor.

In addition to writing, he has shown his paintings at numerous individual and group shows in Toronto, Canada and throughout Italy. In his spare time, Mark David Campbell likes scouring second-hand stores, boating on Lago Maggiore and eating pizza and drinking beer with friends.

Release Day Blitz for The Nate and Cameron Collection by Kevin Klehr (excerpt, trailer and giveaway)

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Title: Nate and Cameron Collection

Series: Nate and Cameron

Author: Kevin Klehr

Publisher:  NineStar Press

Release Date: August 28th

Format: Print

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 200 pages

Genre: Contemporary, contemporary, gay, cisgender, cross-dressing, established couple, ghost, vacation

Add to Goodreads

Synopsis

Nate and the New Yorker

Nate once had the love of his life, but he’s met Cameron, a New York millionaire with an eccentric cross-dressing butler.

Cameron is keen to share his world of classy restaurants, Broadway shows, and fabulous parties, and while Nate’s friends see the makings of a fantasy romance, it’s Nate who has to learn how to open his heart again.

But is Cameron simply second best?

Nate’s Last Tango

Nate’s life couldn’t be better. He’s living with his rich boyfriend, Cameron, in New York while being wined and dined all over the city.

But when Nate decides to visit his friends back in Sydney, Cameron suggests they break it off for a while. Cam’s cross-dressing butler is not impressed, and with the help of his lesbian aunt, they drag Cameron down-under to sort out his relationship and take in the sights of Mardi Gras!

With Nate at a loss to what went wrong, he faces the dim reality that love may have run its course.

Only available in Print from most major retailers.

 

Excerpt

Nate and the New Yorker
Kevin Klehr © 2017
All Rights Reserved

Trailer: https://youtu.be/p3zjFttpjXc

Both Cameron and I had Hawaiian shirts to wear, while Rowena sported a tie-dyed sarong and an afro wig. And around us, interesting guests wore chic little skirts, James Dean–style jackets, hippie gear, and mod wear.

“You haven’t introduced me yet,” said a middle-aged woman to Cameron. Her rust-colored coat had a masculine cut. Yet she elegantly held a long-stemmed cigarette holder with something that smelled very much like a joint burning on the end.

“Sorry,” said my charming American. “This is my friend, Nathan. And this well-dressed lady is my aunt Beverley.”

“Nice to meet you,” I said.

She took my hand and kissed it. “I hope you don’t think me too forward; it’s just that you’ve got such fascinating features.”

“My aunt likes to flirt.”

“It runs in the family,” she replied. She gave me a measured wink. “Now, nephew, where have you been hiding this handsome Englishman?”

“I’m Australian.”

“It’s your accent. I never can tell the difference.”

“I need you!” yelled a girl in a flower necklace. She was the drummer of the band and was addressing our host.

“It’s time,” Cameron said.

“Time for what?” I asked.

He kissed me on the cheek and then headed for the microphone stand.

“You’re in for a treat,” whispered Aunt Beverley, her voice raspy from years of smoking.

“He sings?” I asked.

“He sings,” she replied.

A laid-back strum of the bass guitar started the song, followed by a drum beat. Then the vocal. And before I knew it, I was being serenaded in front of a room full of acquaintances. But, wow! What a unique experience.

“I’ve never seen him go out on a limb for someone like this before,” said his aunt.

I smiled politely, then closed my eyes. He was crooning. His honey voice made my soul rise out of my body and search for a dream. And in the hip nightclub that appeared in my mind, he wore a gray suit with a crimson tie, standing tall in front of the trumpet section who were waiting for their cue. And I was the only one in the club.

“Where are you?” asked Aunt Beverley in a low tone.

I wanted to say I was in love but stopped myself. I realized it was rude to have my eyes closed during Cam’s song. I opened them. He had me in his sights. I wanted to jump into the waves on his Hawaiian shirt and end up on a deserted island with just him and me.

“Would you like a toke of my cigarette, Nathan?”

“No, thank you. I think the fumes have already hit me.”

 

Purchase

NineStar Press | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Meet the Author

Kevin lives with his long-term partner, Warren, in their humble apartment (affectionately named Sabrina), in Australia’s own ‘Emerald City,’ Sydney.

From an early age, Kevin had a passion for writing, jotting down stories and plays until it came time to confront puberty. After dealing with pimple creams and facial hair, Kevin didn’t pick up a pen again until he was in his thirties. His handwritten manuscript was being committed to paper when his work commitments changed, giving him no time to write. Concerned, his partner, Warren, secretly passed the notebook to a friend who in turn came back and demanded Kevin finish his story. It wasn’t long before Kevin’s active imagination was let loose again.

His first novel spawned a secondary character named Guy, an insecure gay angel, but many readers argue that he is the star of the Actors and Angels book series. Guy’s popularity surprised the author.

So with his fictional guardian angel guiding him, Kevin hopes to bring more whimsical tales of love, life and friendship to his readers.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | YouTube | Vimeo

 

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