What Are Romance Don’ts For You? This Week At Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

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What Are Romance Don’ts For You…in Stories of course?

I’m always interested in what turns readers on, makes them keep searching out certain authors, certain types of stories and series.  The reverse is also true.  I’m curious to know whats the turnoff for readers.  What will kill a story faster than a full moon can make a were all fluffy?

I’m not talking about simple bad writing, paroxysms of purple prose (I sorta love those…I giggle away), and cardboard characters and unintelligible plots.  No I’m talking about something that while you are reading along, the book is going fine and all of a sudden, there it is.  The thing that has you going “nope, not reading further”, and you are done.

I have to admit the one I hear the most is that people don’t want their main characters to cheat.  At all. It doesn’t matter whether they haven’t even met the guy they are going to have their HFN or HEA yet.  They don’t want to see them with anyone else in the story.

These are readers who place a strict moral behavior line on their mcs and expect it to be adhered to.

Some readers  want light, sweet romances (which does not necessarily exclude depth in storyline or characters). Others place a limit on the amount of violence or types of sex or kink they may want in the novels. Do you exclude anything other than a typical M/M coupling from your reading lists?  Not judging, just curious.

And how much sex is too much?

I actually went to a couple of How to Write Romance sites to see if they addressed any of this and the answer is not really.One said not to have a sex scene in every  chapter.  Many recommended no instant love but to build it up gradually. Many said to learn how to write “good” sex scenes. Under one site with 5 Mistakes to Avoid with Romance novels:1

  • : Avoid immediate, total attraction between your story’s lovers (guess they never met Grindr or instant lust) Really

But specifics like cheating never come up.  That they leave up to each individual author and their  tastes.

I personally avoid novels that kill off the pets and other animals.  That’s one of my things (looking at you and that horse, Amy Lane).

One recent story that I gave low ratings to didn’t even introduce the one main character’s “true love” until the last couple of pages of the story.  For most of the book he was involved with a lovely intelligent man who most readers, including myself thought he would end up with, until surprise!  He runs off back to Canada leaving the nice guy in Scotland and us with our jaws on the floor.  Because there was no set up in the narrative and we had no idea who this person was.  Stunningly awful.

So while the mc’s don’t have to be together (letters written, two povs), I must actually know who he is. Smh.

And finally, if you have a narrative bugaboo, is there a author or book that convinced you or was so well written that they made you overlook it?

Write in and let me know….there might be gifts ahead for those that chime in.

 

 

This Week At Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Sunday, June 24:

  • Book Blast Witchbane by Morgan Brice
  • A MelanieM Review: A Time For Secrets (Boystown #4) by Marshall Thornton
  • What Are Romance Don’ts For You? This Week At Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Monday, June 25:

  • RELEASE BLITZ Daniel (The Third Legacy) by RJ Scott
  • Release Blitz – JM Snyder – Commanding Officer Thomas
  • Release Blitz – Speed Dating the Boss by Sue Brown
  • DSP Promo EJ Russell
  • An Alisa Review: Commanding Officer Thomas by J.M. Snyder
  • A Jeri Review: Something About You by Riley Hart
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: Cash Plays (Seven of Spades #3) by Cordelia Kingsbridge

Tuesday, June 26

  • Release Blitz – Spark by Posy Roberts
  • Release Blitz – Nic Starr’s Lies & Deception
  • My Crunchy Life by Mia Kerick Release Blitz
  • Release Blitz and Exclusive Guest Post forJanice Jarrell’s Love’s Magic
  • An Ali Release Day Review: Lies & Deception by Nic Starr (
  • An Alisa Release Day Review: Speed Dating the Boss (Cowboys and Angels #1) by Sue Brown
  • A MelanieM Releases Day Review: All That Glitters by Kate Sherwood

Wednesday, June 27:

  • Cover Reveal for  Second Chance Ranch (Montana #5) by RJ Scott
  • Kate Sherwood on All That Glitters (guest post)
  • Review Tour – Tarian PS – That’s My Ethan
  • Series Recap Blitz/Tour – RJ Scott – Montana Series
  • A Caryn Review: Cinderella Boy by Kristina Meister
  • A Stella Review Home Skillet (Culinary Kings #1) by Cate Ashwood & Sandra Damien
  • A MelanieM Audiobook Review: Love Me Tomorrow by Ethan Day and Jason Frazier (Narrator)

Thursday, June 28:

  • Release Blitz – Believe (Skins #3) by Garrett Leigh
  • Release Blitz – Day Of Wrath (Taking Shield #5) – Anna Butler
  • Release Blitz for  Date Discovery by Quinn Ward
  • DSP Promo Nic Starr on LIes & Deception
  • A Free Dreamer Review: Amberlough (The Amberlough Dossier #1) by Lara Elena Donnelly
  • An Alisa Review: Jordan and the Secret Pack by Sam Magna
  • A MelanieM Review Learn with Me by Kris Jacen

Friday, June 29:

  • Review Tour – Love’s Magic by Janice Jarrell
  • Release Blitz – Sam Burn’s  Stag and the Ash
  • DSP Promo Louise Collins
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: Unfit to Print by KJ Charles
  • A Caryn Review: Fourteen Summers by Quinn Anderson
  • A MelanieM Review: Love’s Magic by Janice Jarrell
  • A Lucy Audiobook Review: A Full Plate by Kim Fielding and Narrator: Kenneth Obi

Saturday, June 30:

  • RELEASE BLITZ Love Me Louder by Christina Lee
  • Release Blitz + Giveaway – A Dance For Two by Colette Davison
  • A Lucy Review A Dance For Two by Colette Davison

Book Blast for Witchbane by Morgan Brice (excerpt)

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BOOK BLAST

Book Title: Witchbane

Author: Morgan Brice

Publisher: Darkwind Press

Cover Artist: Lou Harper

Genre/s: urban fantasy MM paranormal romance

Length: 82 000 words/244 pages

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Blurb

Seth Tanner and his brother Jesse’s fun evening debunking local urban legends ends with Jesse’s gruesome murder. Seth vows revenge on Jesse’s killer–too bad the murderer has been dead for a hundred years. Seth uncovers a cycle of ritual killings that feed the power of a dark warlock’s immortal witch-disciples, and he’s hell bent on stopping Jackson Malone from becoming the next victim. He’s used to risking his neck. He never intended to risk his heart.

Excerpt 

Seth

How the hell did I end up on a date with a cute bartender? Seth walked beside Sonny as they meandered around downtown Richmond. Still, being with Sonny felt comfortable, in a way Seth hadn’t felt with anyone in a long time. Maybe it wouldn’t be so bad to get to know one of the locals, blow off a little steam, and make a friend who might be able to help him find the elusive Jackson Malone.

Seth had spent all evening watching Sonny tend bar. Sonny was good at his job, helpful to the servers, and made the customers feel at home. He was also damn good looking, and his worn jeans pulled just right across his toned ass. So when Sonny started throwing signals, Seth responded, and suddenly the evening had taken an unexpected turn.

“What do you do for fun?” Sonny asked, making conversation as they walked. Seth knew that behind the casual questions, Sonny was trying to figure out whether taking Seth home was a good idea. Seth found himself wanting to make a good impression.

“I read,” Seth said, sticking as close to the truth as he could. “Watch movies. Action flicks, superheroes, that kind of thing. Play video games, when I have the time. When I got out of the service, I thought I’d take a little time off to see the country, so I’m finally taking the road trip I promised myself.”

“By yourself?” Sonny sounded torn between being impressed and concerned.

Seth shrugged. “I’ve got friends scattered around, from the army and before. So I drop in and catch up. But yeah, mostly by myself. Clears my mind, you know?”

I should just ask him about Malone, Seth thought. The clock’s ticking. If Malone is a regular, Sonny’ll know. Then again, asking the guy he might be hooking up with about another dude was awkward, to say the least. It’s not like I can say, “I need to protect this guy I don’t know from a dark warlock. Do you have his number?”

“You want to go get some coffee?” Sonny asked after they had walked for a while. “This place I know has really good desserts, and it’s a nice place to just sit and chill for a while.”

It had been so long since Seth had been on anything resembling a date that he wasn’t quite sure what to expect. “Sure,” he said, less because he wanted dessert than because he didn’t want his time with Sonny to end yet.

Maybe he’d misread the signals. He’d thought Sonny was interested in him. Like, interested. Not that Seth wanted to have a quickie in the alley behind the bar, but he hadn’t expected Sonny to want to invest time getting to know him. After all, Sonny knew Seth was just passing through. It’s not like there might be a relationship to build.

And yet, as Sonny led him to a cool little indie coffee shop with an Edgar Allen Poe theme, Seth discovered that he felt all right with taking it slow. He liked that Sonny wasn’t rushing things, focused just on getting into Seth’s pants. It had been a long time since Seth had spent time with an attractive guy just talking…and flirting. God, he was rusty. But Sonny made it seem easy. Somehow, just sitting and chatting seemed natural, unforced. And for the first time in a long while, Seth felt himself relax.

“If you want to talk sports, you’re out of luck,” Sonny admitted as they found a cozy alcove with two plump leather chairs angled for conversation. “I know the scores for the latest games because the TV plays in the bar, but I don’t follow any teams.”

“Thank God,” Seth replied, settling into his chair. “I’m better on cars and motorcycles if that’s your thing.”

“I’m not a true gearhead, but I had an uncle who ran a garage and I used to help out in the summers.” Sonny paused to drink his coffee. They’d each paid for their own, but Seth had overheard Sonny’s order. Chai latte. Fancy, but hardly flamboyant. Seth splurged and added cream to his regular coffee. It tasted as good as it smelled.

“I learned to do some basic repairs, more out of necessity than anything else,” Seth admitted. “I’ve got a long way to go before I can strip a car down to the axles and rebuild it…although I think it’s cool to watch someone who can.”

The conversation turned to video games, a passion they both indulged, and Seth enjoyed the chance to talk in detail about his favorites with someone else who had played them through. “We should so do a campaign together,” Seth said and wrote down his username on a napkin for the big multiplayer game they both enjoyed. On impulse, he added his phone number. His heartbeat spiked when he slid the napkin to Sonny, afraid he’d been too forward. But when Sonny tore off a part of the napkin and returned the favor—including the phone number—Seth relaxed again.

“It’ll be fun to campaign with someone I’ve actually met,” Sonny replied. “So many of the guys out there are total douchebags.”

Seth was about to agree when Sonny’s phone rang. “Sorry, it’s work. Gotta take this.” Sonny frowned at the distraction. He listened for a moment, and his expression morphed from annoyance to resignation. “Okay. Give me twenty. Thanks.”

He shoved his phone back into his pocket and looked up at Seth. “I’m really sorry. Eddie, the guy who was supposed to work the night shift, got really sick and had to leave. Liam can’t handle both bars himself. So…I need to go in.”

“That’s okay.” Seth tried to ignore his disappointment. Even if they didn’t end up in bed, he’d been enjoying the company. “This was fun.” Had Sonny set it up for a co-worker to call him with an out if the evening didn’t shape up the way he wanted? Maybe Sonny had been waiting for Seth to make the first move, and decided things weren’t moving along fast enough? S***, how can I f*** up a date?

Sonny leaned over and put his hand on Seth’s arm. “I had a great time,” he said, making a point of meeting Seth’s gaze. “And if you’re still in town, I get off at seven tomorrow, too. If Eddie’s still sick I’ll make sure Liam has a different replacement. So come by if you want to try this again. Maybe go back to my place afterward, you know, Netflix and chill?”

“I’d like that,” Seth said, surprised at how warm Sonny’s hand felt on his arm. “Can I walk you back to Treddy’s?” Since he figured that they had both parked behind the bar, it only seemed right.

“Sounds like a plan,” Sonny agreed. They finished their coffees and headed out into the night. The walk back passed quickly, and Seth discovered he didn’t have to stretch to make small talk. Chatting with Sonny came naturally, and Seth felt a little sad to find them in front of Treddy’s so quickly.

“See you tomorrow?” Sonny dared to stretch up to brush a quick kiss over Seth’s lips. He had pulled away before Seth collected his wits enough to think about kissing back.

“Definitely,” Seth replied, hoping he didn’t sound twitterpated after the surprise of the kiss. Sonny shot him a wink and disappeared inside, and it took Seth another minute to realize he needed to move away from the door.

Sonny’s kiss went through him like a bolt of lightning right to his balls. Seth turned away from the doorway and tried to subtly adjust himself. The Hayabusa sat right where he had parked it, but Seth paused to think about his grocery list and what was in his laundry basket so that he didn’t have to ride home with a hard-on.

Back at the campground, Seth let himself into the trailer, surprised at how disappointed he felt. When he’d gone to Treddy’s, he’d expected to have a beer, chat up the bartender and some regulars about Malone, and make an early night of it. Now he felt a little cheated—and frustrated. Seth fished a beer out of the fridge and sat at his laptop.

His phone chirped as he waited for the laptop to power up, and for a moment, he found himself hoping Sonny had decided to text him. He’d already added Sonny to his contacts. Instead, “Luis” came up, and Seth resigned himself to talking shop.

“Hey, Luis. What’s up?”

“Hey, yourself. I couldn’t turn up anything on that warlock in Richmond you’re chasing, but I did get some hits on the one in Pittsburgh. Noah and I were over that way last week chasing a pack of shifters, and I had the chance to dig around while we were there.”

“Thanks,” Seth replied, trying to get his head back into the game. “Your hunt go all right?”

“We’re alive, and the shifters aren’t, so I guess that’s a win. Normally, I’d be ‘live and let live,’ you know? But this pack had gone gangland, and they’d already killed three cops. So Noah and I took care of it.” He paused. “I got banged around plenty, but Noah got clawed in the leg, so we’re holed up until that heals.”

“That sucks, man. But I’m glad you’re mostly okay.” Luis and Noah were friends of Toby’s, some of the first hunters Seth had met. Since then, he’d gotten to know several other teams, either people he happened upon in the field or friends of friends. He hadn’t found it unusual that many hunters worked in teams, but the number of those teams that were more than just work partners did give him pause. Then again, hunting was a lonely job, and “civilians” didn’t understand. Some of the hunters he’d heard about had a home base and kept to a radius. Many of them traveled like he did, from job to job. Seth supposed that hunting solo was the perfect gig for natural loners. If he were honest with himself, Seth had to admit he was a little jealous of guys like Luis and Toby, who’d found partners in every sense of the word.

“You get any leads on the Richmond warlock?” Luis asked. “Noah and I aren’t too far away—if you want back-up.”

Seth knew Toby’s opinion of him going after Gremory’s disciple by himself. His mentor had waxed obscenely creative in telling him just how foolhardy he thought it was for Seth to go up against the warlock solo. But Seth also knew that neither Luis nor Noah had any magic of their own, and so he didn’t want to be responsible for getting anyone else hurt.

“Thanks, but I think I’ll be okay. I appreciate it, though. And if I can help you out, just call.”

“We’re near Cleveland if you change your mind. Got a line on a couple of vengeful ghosts to put down once Noah’s healed up. But we could be in Richmond overnight if we hauled ass.”

“Go gank those ghosts,” Seth replied. “I’ve got this. Thanks for the intel. Anything you turn up on the witch-disciples, shoot my way. And let me know how to return the favor.”

“Sure thing,” Luis replied. “Watch your back.”

Seth hung up, and somehow the trailer felt emptier than usual. He turned on some music and pulled out a file on Corson Valac, Gremory’s disciple who had made Richmond his home. But as he slogged through the information, he found his focus had gone to s***. His mind wandered, wondering how Sonny’s evening was going.

Did Sonny make a habit of picking up dates at the bar? Seth wanted to think their connection had been special, but a guy who looked like Sonny would have his pick of partners, and Treddy’s probably turned into a meat market late night. He hoped that Sonny had been telling the truth about meeting up with him tomorrow.

But was he going back tomorrow? After all, he only had four days until Halloween, when Valac was likely to make a move against Malone, and Seth still didn’t know what either Malone or Valac looked like, or where to find them. Maybe the whole thing with Sonny was a bad idea, a diversion he couldn’t afford when Malone’s life was on the line.

Then again, Sonny might be a good ally, someone who could lead him to Malone and who knew the area. And if he spent the day chasing down leads, trying to uncover Valac’s current identity and getting his bearings, surely he could spare a few hours in the evening? Does it count as interrogating a witness if I’m giving him a hand job while I ask the questions?

By one a.m., Seth finally gave up on research, pitched the beer bottle, and headed for bed. And if he jacked himself off to thoughts about a certain dark-haired bartender, Seth figured that was his dirty little secret.

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About the Author 

Morgan Brice is the romance pen name of bestselling author Gail Z. Martin. Morgan writes urban fantasy male/male paranormal romance, with plenty of action, adventure and supernatural thrills to go with the happily ever after. Gail writes epic fantasy and urban fantasy, and together with co-author hubby Larry N. Martin, steampunk and comedic horror, all of which have less romance, more explosions.

Morgan Brice will be a Supporting Author at the Gay Romantic Lit convention and a Hosting Author at RomCon in October.

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