A Lucy New Release Review: Harmonious Hearts 2018 Young Authors Challenge Anthology

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Rating:  5 stars out of 5

Harmonious Hearts 2018 – Stories from the Young Author Challenge
Authors: A. Aduma, Arbour Ames, Nick Anthony, M. Caldeira, Kat Freydl, Sonali Gattani, B.K. Hayes, Mattye Johnson, Daniel Okulov, Chloe Smith, Chelsea Winters

Diversity is our strength, and now more than ever, the voices of young LGBTQIA authors need to be heard. Harmony Ink is proud to showcase the next generation of talented writers in our fifth annual Harmonious Hearts anthology. These authors, all between the ages of fourteen and twenty-one, are the winners of our Young Author Challenge and represent the future voices of our community. We are honored to showcase these writers, their experiences, visions, and the glimpses into their hearts in these pages. Join them on their journey and help us celebrate their courage, their love, and their unique ways of seeing the world.

The talented young writers who contributed to this book should be proud.  While all the stories are tied together by the LGBTQIA theme, they are all unique and approach their subjects differently.  They are definitely not all light-hearted and fluffy and a couple of them made me so angry or sad.

Just a Phase by M. Calderia Taking that big step of admitting who you like can be scary but it’s a little easier when you have a no-nonsense best friend supporting you. While Meg tries to pass off her attraction to girls as “Just a phase, huh?” Emme is having none of it, giving Meg courage.  I was happy that she got her brave on.

The Language Unspoken by Chelsea Winters Cody struggles with asthma, being tossed out by his homophobic mother and trying to do too much.  “But Cody had almost lost everything to get where he was after he came out and his mother cut ties with him, and he wasn’t going to give it up for the world.”  He has two awesome friends in his roommate, Alex, and his best friend, Ellie.  He works at a flower shop and is immediately taken with a beautiful stranger who comes to order flowers.   He believes he has too much baggage and “…I’m not really, like the choice most people would make or anything…”  He’s more than he thinks and I was glad someone else noticed. 

A Boy Like Edgar by Nick Anthony Gabe is an art student who has the technique perfected but doesn’t have the passion, the spark, that makes a true artist.  “My work was heavy and precise, with dark, moody palettes, and obviously showing a lot of skill.  I wasn’t like some of my counterparts, full of energy and color, making strokes with abandon and whimsy.  That had been bred out of me.”   It isn’t until he meet Edgar, a fellow art student, that he starts to realize what all that color and energy can come to mean and that was lovely to read.

Of College and Lost Dogs by Mattye Johnson A sweet story of a new beginning at college and the making of new friends.  Learning to sign to be able to communicate with them has an added bonus. 

2:00 AM by Sonali Gattani  This was one of the stories that took my heart and stomped on it.  Told completely by texts to his best friend, Kara, this is so bittersweet and seriously made me cry. It is the mark of a gifted author that through the tears I was able to see the hope even as I was so angry with Kara’s parents.  I am usually not one for sad or angsty stories but this was one of my favorites because it was so real.  Well done.

143 by Chloe Smith A little bit of paranormal in this tale of Penelope, her dad and the aunt that no one talked about.  I liked how Penelope was honest with her dad, not only about her sexuality but about how he made her feel growing up. “While he was there physically, I never felt he was there for me, not really…”   That made a difference and Aunt Catherine was there in spirit for her.  I loved the meaning of 143 and the Twitter conversations.  Love is worth it.

Dev’s Law by A. Aduma Facing the wrath of your father for being honest about yourself isn’t easy but it’s softened when you have someone by your side.  That’s what Dev wants to be for Law when he is caught with gay porn by his dad.  The only thing more embarrassing would be how T came out to his family.  While this could have been heavy, it wasn’t and I appreciated that.  And let’s talk about Dev’s mother, who is now my spirit animal. “She didn’t even shy away from talking about anal sex, like the prepping and all that, importance of lube and enemas…”  With both Dev and Law, no less.  Go mom! Another favorite.

The Head That Wears a Crown by Kat Freydl All I can say is, everyone, and I mean everyone, should have a brother like Cal but especially those who have a father like theirs.  Charlie is dealing with so much and their father is a homophobic televangelist that leaves them to fend for themselves but Cal is there for Charlie, always.   I can’t even say how much I admired them.  “You’re just Charlie….You’re just.  You are.  You’re immune to semantics.”  Loved.

The Train Station by B.K. Hayes Whoo, a sad one where I was so worried about what was going to happen.  As you figure out what is up with the train station, I wanted her to understand what this would mean.  I don’t want to give anything away but I did want to know what happened to Aleja.  The ending was such a relief.

Subtle by Daniel Okulov My total favorite of the anthology, a lesson in how you treat people, how you judge people and most importantly, that you can change those things.  Matty has autism and while his big brother, Justin, starts out very selfish and I was rolling my eyes at him but the new babysitter, Dakota, helped him be better.  Dakota understands what it’s like for people to not get you and that made a difference.  Loved this one.

Someone Else’s Star by Arbour Ames This one was just too sad for me. Or maybe it just made me too angry, that Kelly promised to always be there for Fletcher but broke that promise without warning.  The message from Blue just made me madder.  Kelly seemed to be this amazing person and then lost my respect. 

Cover art by Paul Richmond shows the back of a person standing in front of a rainbow colored graffiti wall.  I thought this fit the feel of the book, as the stories were all different yet linked by the rainbow.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press  |  Amazon

Book Details:

eBook,Paperback, 234 pages
Published October 1st 2018 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN 1641081449 (ISBN13: 9781641081443)
Edition LanguageEnglish

A Stella Review: Savor Me (Kitchen Gods #3) by Beth Bolden

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RATING 4,5 out of 5 stars

When Chef Xander Bridges leaves the warmth and safety of his car on a cold, stormy night and approaches a stranger, the last thing he expects to find is a future. He’s wanted to leave his job for awhile, but with no good opportunities on the horizon, he’s been stuck in a long, painful rut. But when he befriends the stranger viciously tearing up his own vineyard, Xander discovers something inexplicable. Maybe he’s not the bitter, sarcastic man that everyone, including himself, has endured for years.

Maybe, with someone like Damon in his life, he could be something more. Something better.

Damon Hess doesn’t just want more, he demands it. With his alcoholic past, there are no gray areas for him. Only black and white. In love or not. Sober or drunk. But the chance meeting with Xander opens Damon’s eyes, and gives him a vision full of something he hasn’t experienced in years: hope.

Hope that he can expect companionship and affection, hope that he doesn’t have to grapple with his family’s questionable Napa legacy any longer, and most importantly, hope that there’s a future worth believing in. But the longer he and Xander spend cultivating that future, the more Damon realizes that the key is so much simpler than he ever imagined–it’s Xander.

Savor Me is an 80,000 word contemporary m/m romance starring an irascible man with a soft, gooey marshmallow center and another who knows he likes men, but has never been with one before. It is third in the Kitchen Gods series, but can be read as a standalone.

Savor Me is another great addition to the Kitchen Gods series by Beth Bolden. I read and liked the first two novels and fell in love with these guys/roommates/chefs. I was enthusiastic to finally have Xander’s story in my hands.

I think this new release is the best so far. I liked it from the beginning until the ending, a beautiful one. How the main characters met, just like this, under the rain, when Damon was at his lowest, and Xander was so strong and brave, so passionate about his work even in that moment. And then, one year later, when they met again when Damon looked for the young chef, so sure he’s the right person to help him open his restaurant of his dreams. I found all of this so romantic and dreamy, I was gone for this couple. I cheered on them and adored how they decided to take their time. But when they finally acted on their attraction, I saw both of them blossom into an amazing couple.

It was really a pleasure to read Savor Me, I finished the story in a day since the reading flew really easily and I found the writing very well done. I got to know characters quite a lot, their backgrounds and fears. Plus I appreciated how the author gave me the chance to know better Kian too. I have to say I can’t wait for his and the Bastard’s book. Hope to have it very soon.

The cover art by AngstyG follows the style of the other covers in the series, I like it

SALE LINKS   Amazon  |  Universal link:  mybook.to/kgsavorme

BOOK DETAILS

Kindle Edition, 342 pages

Published September 29th 2018

ASIN B07HW1F1G9

Edition Language English

A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: Lone Wolf by Anna Martin

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Rating: 2 stars out of 5

Jackson Lewis isn’t a typical werewolf. He isolates himself in a small town outside Spokane and dedicates himself to making his business—Lone Wolf Brewery—a success. If it leaves him little time for romance, he’s okay with that. His soul mate could be out there somewhere, but he isn’t actively looking.

So he’s in for quite the shock when he literally bumps into his soul mate—Leo Gallagher, an adorable, nerdy, vibrant music therapist who’s Jackson’s polar opposite.

But he’s human. And a man.

Jackson is straight—or at least he’s always assumed so. Though he can’t deny his attraction to Leo, it’s a lot for both of them to deal with.

While Jackson and Leo figure out what their future might hold, they face prejudice from both the human and werewolf communities—including a group of fanatics willing to kill to show humans and werewolves don’t belong together.

The blurb excited me. I love a fated-mate story and I love the trope that was once labeled GFY. But, this one did not meet my expectations.

Jackson was not likeable. At all. One would think a character like him would grow on a reader. But nope—nada—nil. Jackson is not someone I’d like to know—ever. Leo, on the other hand, was super-likeable, with a vibrant personality and the patience of a saint. Why he persistently stuck it out with Jackson is beyond my ability to understand.

The couple was not a couple through most of the first part of the book and only became one due to Leo’s ability to forgive and Jackson’s strong drive to be with his soul mate. Toward the middle to end, the two started to spend more time together, eventually had sex, and Leo moved in with Jackson. But did that stop Jackson from adamantly stressing that he’s still straight? No, it did not.

To be honest, I’m left with a bad feeling—as if being anything but straight is wrong. I’m sure—or I hope—that wasn’t the author’s intention, but these two men didn’t gel for me. (Leo deserved so much more!) In the very last chapter, when Leo was asked if he was Jackson’s partner, he replied that he’s his soul mate. Really? Apparently, even Leo conceded defeat.

It pains me to say this but I don’t recommend this to anyone unless they enjoy frustrating characters.

The cover by Garrett Leigh  is what one would expect—a handsome man in the foreground, a wolf in mid-howl in the background.

Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK | Dreamspinner

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 1st edition, 247 pages
Published October 9th 2018 by Dreamspinner Press
ASINB07HNDPGYW
Edition LanguageEnglish

A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: Boy Shattered by Eli Easton

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Rating 5 stars out of 5

Brian

You’ll make it out of here, Brian. I swear.

I had everything. I was school quarterback, popular with girls, and my dad was proud of me. I told myself it didn’t matter no one knew the real me. And then I nearly died. Landon saved my life. He’s the bravest guy I know. He came out a few years ago, proud and fierce, and he ran into gunfire to help others. Me, I’m a mess. Can’t even stand to be in a room with the curtains open. But here’s the thing about losing it all: You get a chance to start over and be someone new, someone true. Only how can I move on when the two shooters who attacked our school were never caught? And why do I feel like I’m still in the crosshairs?

Landon

Will you kiss me?

When I came across Brian Marshall, the hottest guy in school, dying on the cafeteria floor, I did what anyone would do. I tried to save him. His request surprised me, but I figured he needed comfort, so I kissed him on the forehead. When he survived and came back to school, he was broken in body and mind. He still needed me, and soon we were unlikely besties. But what I witnessed that day woke me up. I want to demand action on gun control, lead protests, raise my fist. I’ll tear the world down if I have to. And if I can get the boy of my dreams and save the world at the same time? I’ll take it. Only I didn’t understand that the horror at Jefferson Waller High wasn’t over.

This is the story of how Brian survived a mass shooting at his high school and how Landon, the boy who stopped to help him, became an activist, his friend, and ultimately his lover.

There aren’t words to describe how incredibly emotional, meaningful, heartbreaking, and heartwarming this story is. Only Eli Easton could wring tears from a turnip. Honestly. Those who know me know I occasionally cry, i.e., a few tears appear on my lashes. Let’s just say when Brian’s poem “18 Chairs” is read at the end of this story, I literally sobbed.

I knew going in that this would be an emotional story, and as I started to read I had to take several breaks—some short, some long—so I could regroup and move forward. Yes, there are scenes of graphic violence. That’s the topic, after all. And the author clearly warns of that. But the emotions are so visceral, so raw, I had to back off, and I actually walked away for a day so I could go back fresh. And then I kept moving forward until around the 85% mark when the action picked up again and the events and drama unfolding on-page propelled me in rapt attention to the end. Riveting. Gut-wrenching. Superb.

I loved the strength and completeness of the author’s treatment of the characters—not only of the MCs but of multiple secondary characters, who all played an important role in this story. I appreciated the way the topic of gun control legislation was handled and the sensitivity the author showed to survivors of past shootings such as those from Parkland.

And, mostly, I appreciated the happy ending showing hope for a bright future. I love your work, Eli Easton! Versatile isn’t even a strong enough descriptor. I am avidly looking forward to more in future. In the meantime, I very, very highly recommend this book! It’s most definitely in my top 5 stories of 2018.

The cover by Tiferet Designs  is incredible and features a close-up of a young man as seen through a broken mirror. It not only reflects how the mirror would be shattered in a tragedy such as the one described, but also how the life of the character is so shattered and difficult to piece back together.

Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 317 pages
Published October 16th 2018
ASINB07JB2CB84
Edition Language English

Parker Williams on Writing, Research and his new story Lincoln’s Park (Links In the Chain) (author guest interview)

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Lincoln’s Park (Links In the Chain #1) by Parker Williams
Dreamspinner Press
Cover Art: Reese Dante

Sales Links: Dreamspinner PressAmazon

 

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to host Parker Williams today on tour with his latest story Lincoln’s Park (Links In the Chain).

 

 ~ Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words Interview with  Parker Williams  ~

How much of yourself goes into a character?

For this particular book, not too much. Lincoln looked down on people, and I never did that. Noel found out he wasn’t loved as much as he thought. I always knew my mom loved 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?

Not in this story. Everything in Lincoln’s Park was a product of my imagination. Well, except for the list of clubs that Lincoln belonged to. Some of those will be familiar.

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

I did do some research into diner food, and ended up enjoying the hell out of it, and making myself really hungry in the process. Lincoln serves Noel some battered cheesy onion rings that I found, and they looked SO damn good. If you want to see them for yourself, go here.

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

You know, when I was a kid, gay characters weren’t very prevalent. IF you saw one, they were usually a joke or a molester or would die in some horrific way. Much like back then, though, many movies still treat LGBT characters the same. It’s why the phrase Bury the Gays came from. I’d like to think, with the advent of such movies as Love, Simon and newer flicks, that LGBT can be shown to be happy and not a smear stain on the sidewalk.

Do you like HFN or HEA? And why?

I honestly prefer a HEA for romance stories, but those that aren’t strictly romance (Amy Lane’s Fish series, for example), a HFN is good enough, because you know there will be more to unravel as the series continues.

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

I would have *loved* a good gay romance when I was a teenager. The closest I came was a book called Kevin by Wallace Hamilton, but even that was a taboo tale, although the ending was happy.

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

I think eBooks are going to be around for a while. I’d like to say they’re here to stay, but I said the same thing about VHS tapes, and look where those are now.

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

When I work with Dreamspinner, I always ask Reese Dante if she’s available to do the cover for me. Ever since I first saw her work, she was a favorite of mine. When I wrote Pitch, a friend asked about the cover, and I said I would love to ask Reese, but she didn’t do young adult stuff. So my friend asked for me, and Reese said yes!

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

My current favorite is An Unlocked Mind with K.C. Wells. I have wanted to do a story for Rob ever since we met him. He’s funny, sarcastic, and not anything like a sub is expected to behave. (A lot of that comes from K.C., who gave him personality in An Unlocked Mind.)

No matter what, I will always be grateful to her for allowing us to do his story.

What’s next for you as an author?

I just finished edits on my first ever ghost story, ‘The Spirit Key’!

When he was eight years old, Scott Fogel died. Paramedics revived him, but he came back changed. Ghosts and spirits tormented Scott for over a decade until, thinking he was going mad, he did the only thing he could.

He ran—leaving behind his best friend, Tim Jennessee.

Scott’s had five normal, ghost-free years in Chicago, when the spirit of Tim’s mother comes to him and begs him to go home because Tim’s in trouble and needs him.

He isn’t prepared for what he finds when he goes home—a taller and sexier Tim, but a Tim who hasn’t forgiven Scott for abandoning him… a Tim whose body is no longer his own. The ghost of a serial murderer has attached itself to Tim, and it’s whispering dark and evil things. It wants Tim to kill, and it’s becoming harder for Tim to resist. To free the man who has always meant so much to him, Scott must unravel the mystery of the destiny he shares with Tim.

And I got a contract for book two in the Links in the Chain series, Galen’s Redemption. (Galen is Lincoln’s brother, and after you read Lincoln, you’ll see why he needs to be redeemed.)

And I just finished writing the third and final book in the Links in the Chain series. This one will feature Aiden (who we meet in book two) and Tom, the brother of Robert from book one. I shared a bit of the story with two friends who told me they never cry, and both did, so that makes me happy. (Yes, gentle readers, if I can make someone have some kind of emotion, it makes me happy.)

If you write contemporary romance, is there such a thing as making a main character too “real”?  Do you think you can bring too many faults into a character that eventually it becomes too flawed to become a love interest?

Hm. This is a good question. Can a character be too real? To be honest, I don’t think so. I mean, I could be wrong, and it would really depend on what kind of faults a person has. If he’s a cheater, abuser, liar, or something, then he might be beyond redemption. But if his faults are that he’s loud or has an annoying laugh, then no, I don’t think it prevents him from being a love interest.

What traits do you find the most interesting in someone? Do you write them into your characters?

I love characters who aren’t afraid to laugh at themselves. Or, barring that, can learn to laugh with someone. If someone doesn’t possess at least a little bit of self-deprecating humor, then what fun are they?

 

Have you ever put a story away, thinking it just didn’t work?  Then years/months/whatever later inspiration struck and you loved it?  Is there a title we would recognize if that happened?

I’ve got plenty of stories in my ‘to-be-written’ pile that I tuck away until I’m ready for them. As for stopping a work in progress, I did that on Haven’s War. There’s a scene that gutted me, and I had to stop and write something sweet (Of Love and Corn Dogs) to take my mind of the horrible, awful thing the bad guy did. (Note: I am taking no responsibility for it!)

 

Ever drunk written a chapter and then read it the next day and still been happy with it?  Trust me there’s a whole world of us drunk writers dying to know.

No, I don’t drink. I have, however, taken a sleeping pill the doctor gave me, and sat down to write. Let’s just say that was…unpleasant. When you can’t even decipher what the hell it is you’ve said, it’s time to leave those pills alone.

BLURB:

A Links In the Chain Story

Lincoln Merriweather was born an entitled brat with a silver spoon lodged so deep, it might never have come out. At the BDSM club or in business, Lincoln was a storm, blowing in and disrupting the lives of everyone he touched, until the day he met a man who peeled away the tarnished layers to expose a decent person.

Lincoln found—then lost—love. 

Since then, he’s tried to atone for his past, including walking away from his family’s wealth. He opened a diner, hiring people to work for him that he would have spit on before his epiphany. He’s found peace, which he’s about to lose to a hazel-eyed man.

Noel Simmons wound up on the street when his parents discovered he was gay. His path leads him to Lincoln’s diner, where he asks for a job. He’s thrilled when Lincoln agrees to hire him, but finds his new boss perplexing. Can anyone be this kind and decent?

What starts out as business becomes something more. Noel discovers he needs Lincoln in order to feel safe. Lincoln needs Noel to complete him. But when Lincoln’s past gets in the way of his present, will the two have a future?

Sales Links:

Dreamspinner Press

iBooks

Amazon

About the Author

Parker Williams is a bestselling author of MM romance and suspense. One of his recent works was nominated for the Lambda Literary Awards, and several books have been runners-up at the Rainbow Awards.

Parker loves the written word. A chance encounter with an amazing author changed the course of his life as he began to write the stories his men were whispering to him. With the help of some amazing friends and a community of writers he’s proud to be part of, Parker continues telling stories of love, hurt, comfort, and sometimes tosses in a little angst for fun. He believes in love, but also knows that anything worth having requires work and sacrifice (and maybe a little hurt and comfort too). The course of true love never runs smooth, and he enjoys writing about it.

BLOG TOUR Commitment Collection Box Set by Karen Botha

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COMMITMENT COLLECTION BLOG TOUR

Book Title: Buckle Up, G-Force and Jump Start Collection

Author: Karen Botha

Publisher: Self-published

Cover Artist: Jarmilla Takac

Genre/s: Contemporary gay romance

Release Date: October 18, 2018

Heat Rating: 4 flames

Add on Goodreads

Buy Links – Available on Kindle Unlimited

Amazon US

Amazon UK 

Blurb

On the road of life, passion is what drives us, but love makes us stay the course.

Elliott Judd is a superstar race car driver and hotter than hell. Men and women fall at his feet and he enjoys the easy pickings.

Kyle Beaumont, a straight mechanic with a body to die for, joins the racing team of his dreams with his mind fixed on the job.

But as the racing seasons come and go, these men realize they might be racing to the same trophy, each other. With their physical and emotional exploits driven to new depths. they face devastating disruptions when the past crashes into them. Are their feelings for each other enough to keep them on the right track?

Find how passion and lust turn to love, and whether these driven men focus on happiness in the journey or the destination in this hot, sexy three-book series.

Download your copy of Commitment Collection 1 – 3 now.

Buckle-Up #1

Passion, lust and desire are the fuel that drives us. So, buckle up for the ride of your life.

Elliott Judd is a superstar race car driver and hotter than hell. Men and women fall at his feet and he enjoys the easy pickings. No one has tamed this wild stallion, but is he ready to settle down for the right person?

Kyle Beaumont, a straight mechanic with a body to die for joins the racing team of his dreams, and with his mind fixed on the job, he doesn’t realise that he is Elliott’s next trophy of choice.

As the racing season and the fight to be the world number one starts, so too does Elliott’s game of seduction.
Will Elliott crash and burn, or will Kyle succumb to this gorgeous man’s onslaught?

Buckle Up is the first book in a gay romance series by Karen Botha and a story of unlikely love.

G-Force #2

Love breeds intensity.
Intensity breeds passion.

Recovered from a life-threatening accident, Kyle Beaumont is a powerhouse who is eager to show Elliott Judd just how far he can push his hotter than ever physique. Their physical and emotional exploits are driven to a depth neither has ever experienced with anyone else.

As a racing driver superstar, Elliott loves handling power, and he’s geared up for taking everything Kyle throws his way. In fact, he craves it. But, when the past smashes into their lives, is the couple prepared to handle possibly devastating disruptions?

Set in a world of fast cars, intense love, and a burning desire to win at all costs, this is a love story brimming with unbridled lust. Join Elliott and Kyle as they race their demons to the finish line in hopes of taking home the ultimate prize-their undying love.

Jump Start #3

Falling in love is easy.
Making it work, well, that’s where the fun begins.

Falling in love with Kyle Beaumont helped Elliott Judd find a romantic piece of himself he didn’t know existed. The two men take the next step in their relationship when Kyle moves into Elliott’s place, but despite the passion he feels for his talented mechanic and lover, the scorching hot race car driver suddenly feels out of place in his own home.

Kyle adores Elliott, and thinks of him as the love of his life he didn’t see coming. But calling a mansion home and fitting into Elliott’s space is more of a culture shock than he’d anticipated.Join Kyle and Elliott as they adjust to sharing their lives with one another, both in and out of the spotlight. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, and you’ll wonder if these two will ever get it right.

Excerpt from Buckle Up

“It’s the first day of my new job as a race mechanic for one of the leading motor teams in the world. I can’t explain how long I’ve waited for this. The company had me jumping through hoops before I finally received the letter inviting me to come on board.

The pay isn’t as considerable as you’d expect, but the prestige is tremendous. And the lifestyle, well it’s one for a single man, that’s for sure. I’ll be abroad for the best part of eight months out of twelve, traveling around the globe to compete in races that test my skills to the core. The rest of the year, I’ll be running flat out developing next season’s car.

I’ve entered into this late. It’s the first day of track testing the new car. A disagreement with a previous employee means I’ve been offered a chance to show them what I’m made of. It’s a huge deal, so I’m grabbing this opportunity with both my greedy hands.

“We’ll practice pit stops.” James, the number one mechanic, says.

“I snatch my tire, remove it from the cover which keeps it up to temperature when we take it off the heating chamber, and run to the front of the garage.

“Keep the cover on. Elliott will be practicing his pit stop procedure too, so the tires don’t need to be fitted,” James says.

“Oh, OK.” Fuck, first rookie error and I’m only five minutes in. I start beating myself up. Hopefully the tires will warm back up to temperature again before we need them.

I don’t have time to be overly hard on myself. The two drivers, Elliott and Brad, make their entrance.

But only one stands out.

Elliott Judd.

He’s dressed the same as Brad, they walk at the same pace, and they’re even roughly the same size. But he’s brighter. The only way I can describe it is that he has color around him like no one I’ve ever met. A star quality. The tabloid hacks are right.

The second driver pales away against the white walls of the garage while Elliott glows.”

About the Author

Karen Botha  was born in Lincolnshire England where her father was in the royal air force. As a young girl she always had a passion for reading and writing. Working most of her adult life in digital marketing didn’t leave her much time to pursue her passion for stories. at the age of 36 She retrained for a reflexologist and started working for herself. This helped her free up more than enough time to enjoy a  re-found  passion  for writing.

Her first novel was inspired by true life experiences and tales from clients. But don’t believe everything you read.

She enjoys traveling rugby and motor sport, this gives her inspiration and ideas for her books.

The first in the new LGBT series is a mm romance novel about a race car driver and his mechanic.

She currently lives in London with her husband and rescue dog called Shadow.

Social Media Links

Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads |

Amazon US | Amazon UK

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In the Spotlight: Building Forever (This Time Forever #1) by Kelly Jensen (special excerpt and giveaway)

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Building Forever (This Time Forever #1) by Kelly Jensen
Riptide Publishing
Cover Art: Natasha Snow

Sales Links:  Riptide Publishing | Amazon

 

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to host Kelly Jensen here today on on for Building Forever, a story we highly recommend. The author has   brought along a excerpt and giveaway for all to enter.  Check out both below.

Building Forever is the first in a series of standalone novels focused on older characters who think love has passed them by. I loved writing these second chance romances, and I hope you enjoy reading about the books—especially this one because Charlie and Simon will forever be the characters who started me on this journey.

 

About Building Forever

A new town, a new neighbor, and a new chance to build a forever.

Charlie King is doing fine. Sure, he’s a widower raising a teenage daughter who just got her first boyfriend, his book series isn’t writing itself, and he has a crush on his new neighbor — the guy next door. But everything’s just fine.

Simon Lynley is doing better. He moved to Bethlehem to fall out of love and rebuild his career. An affair with his neighbor isn’t part of the plan, but the attraction between them is too hard to ignore.

But when Simon’s ex follows him to Pennsylvania seeking reconciliation, and Charlie’s life starts to feel like a video on repeat, everything comes apart. Charlie worries that he’s failing as a father, and Simon is a distraction he can’t afford. Meanwhile Simon doesn’t know if he could survive being left again, and he hasn’t come all this way to make the same mistakes. But despite their fears, it’s only together that they’ll find the strength to slay old foes and build the forever they’ve been waiting for.

Now available from Riptide Publishing!

Building Forever Excerpt

Charlie’s daughter, Liv, is out on her first date, and Charlie is trying not to obsess over the fact that everything is changing. His daughter has met someone, Charlie has too—and he doesn’t know what to do with all his new anxieties or where to put them. Best friend Phil to the rescue! He and Phil head out for Chinese takeout and a little shopping and Phil does a lot of listening while Charlie struggles to come to terms with the changes in his life.

Everything Is Changing

Charlie followed the girl to a curtained alcove at the rear corner of the shop, accepted two different pairs to try, and pulled on the first. Stepping outside the curtain, he called to Phil, “What do you think?”

“They look like jeans.”

“Well, duh.”

“Why are you trying on clothes?”

“My old jeans are getting pretty, um, old.”

“Liv isn’t going to be coming in this direction, is she?”

“No. Banko’s is in the other way.” Someone had recently reopened the small local theater—and renamed it. Charlie could never remember the new name, though. “I just need new jeans.”

Charlie ducked back into the changing room. He studied himself in the mirror and admired the jeans. They made his legs seem longer and all of him more lean. He didn’t even have to suck in his gut, though that could have been all the jogging and projects around the house. As he turned to the side to inspect his profile, his thoughts wandered toward Simon again.

Would he notice the new jeans?

Did Charlie want him to?

“Here. I picked out some shirts for your updated wardrobe,” Phil called through the curtain.

“Uh-huh.”

Phil thrust a handful of material through the gap at the side. Charlie took the shirts and shook the first one out. It had Cute But Psycho printed across the front. “Very funny!” A muffled snort sounded from near the front of the shop. The second read: Sassy Since Birth.

“I think I see Liv!” Phil called.

Charlie dropped the shirts and scrambled for his own jeans, falling against the wall as he yanked them up his legs—over the pair he already had on. Shit. Tempting as it was to run, getting arrested for shoplifting would stick a wrench in his evening plans. Charlie pulled the new pair off and the old pair on. He pushed through the curtain with his fly half undone and nearly bowled Phil over. A laughing Phil.

“Just foolin’,” his new nemesis reported with an evil grin.

“Jesus.” Charlie melted back through the curtain and into the wall at the rear of the dressing room. He so wasn’t cut out to be the father of a teenager. Then there was this business with the jeans. What was he doing? Why was his life so weird all of a sudden?

“Everything okay in there?” Phil asked from outside the curtain.

Charlie drew it aside. “Yeah. I guess.”

“The jeans looked really good. Clean. Um . . . slimming.”

“Now you’re trying to distract me?”

“Is it working?”

“I dunno.”

Phil took the new jeans from Charlie’s hand. “C’mon, our food is probably ready.”

They paid for the jeans, collected their takeout, and turned back toward the beer store. By the time they got to the truck, Charlie felt drained. Not just empty, but as though he’d spent energy he didn’t have. He leaned against the side of the truck and closed his eyes.

“How are you doing?” Phil asked from his side of the truck.

Swallowing, Charlie shook his head.

Phil came around the back and stopped in front of Charlie. “Wherever you’re doing in that whacko brain of yours, stop. Okay?” Easier said than done. “Liv’s a good kid.” Phil delivered an encouraging shoulder squeeze.

“She was always a good kid. Thing is, she’s not a kid anymore, is she?”

“Don’t make me hug you on Broad Street.”

Charlie let go of something that might have been a whimper.

Phil put on a reassuring expression. “They’re always gonna be our little girls, man. Always. Even when they’re our age and we’re too old to even try for Maximum Overdrive.”

Charlie waved in the general direction of their heads. “Virtual reality. If we can think it, it will happen.”

“That’s kinda your problem.”

Charlie sighed. He wanted to tell Phil he was scared, but Phil already knew. “Everything’s changing,” he whispered instead.

He wasn’t sure Phil had heard him until his friend patted him on the shoulder. “Let’s go home.”

Charlie straightened his spine. He had to own this, whatever it was. The good and the bad. The jeans he could return tomorrow. Simon . . . Simon needed more thought. Liv, though, she was his, irrevocably, until the end of time, and he had no regrets there.

None.

But if he could have done things differently— No. Some things just couldn’t be changed. You had to own them. Fully.

 

About the This Time Forever Series

Small towns and second chances.

Simon, Frank, and Brian think love has passed them by. Each is facing down his fiftieth birthday—Simon in a few years, Frank next year, and Brian soon enough. Each has loved and lost. But for these men, everything old really is new again, and it’s only when they return to their roots that they’ll find their second chances and the happily ever after they’ve been waiting their whole lives for.

This time it’s forever.

This series includes:

  1. Building Forever — releasing October 15, available now!
  2. Renewing Forever — releasing November 12, available for preorder!
  3. Chasing Forever — releasing December 10, available soon!

About Kelly Jensen

If aliens ever do land on Earth, Kelly will not be prepared, despite having read over a hundred stories about the apocalypse. Still, she will pack her precious books into a box and carry them with her as she strives to survive. It’s what bibliophiles do.

Kelly is the author of a number of novels, novellas, and short stories, including the Chaos Station series, cowritten with Jenn Burke. Some of what she writes is speculative in nature, but mostly it’s just about a guy losing his socks and/or burning dinner. Because life isn’t all conquering aliens and mountain peaks. Sometimes finding a happy ever after is all the adventure we need.

Connect with Kelly:


Giveaway

To celebrate the release of Building Forever one lucky person will win a $25 Riptide Publishing gift card and a swag pack of stickers, art cards, and bookmarks! Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on October 20, 2018. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following along, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!

Review Tour and Giveaway for Boy Shattered by Eli Easton

Standard
Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK
 
Length: 85,000 words approx.
 
Cover Design: Tiferet Design
 
Blurb
 

Brian
You’ll make it out of here, Brian. I swear.
I had everything—school quarterback, popular with girls, and my dad was proud of me. I told myself it didn’t matter no one knew the real me. And then I nearly died. Landon saved my life. He’s the bravest guy I know. He came out a few years ago, proud and fierce, and he ran into gunfire to help others. Me, I’m a mess. Can’t even stand to be in a room with the curtains open. But here’s the thing about losing it all: You get a chance to start over and be someone new. Only how can I move on when the two shooters who attacked our school were never caught? And why do I feel like I’m still in the crosshairs?


Landon
Will you kiss me?
When I came across Brian Marshall,the hottest guy in school, dying on the cafeteria floor, I did what anyone would do. I tried to save him. His request surprised me, but I figured he needed comfort, so I kissed him on the forehead. When he survived and came back to school, he was broken in body and mind. He still needed me, and soon we were unlikely besties. But what I saw at school that day woke me up. I want to demand action on gun control, lead protests, raise my fist. I’ll tear the world down if I have to. And if I can get the man of my dreams and save the world at the same time? I’ll take it. Only I didn’t understand that the horror at Jefferson Waller High wasn’t over.



October 16Romantic Ramblings, My Fiction Nook, Kimmers’ Erotic Book Banter, Gay Book Reviews, Amy’s MM Romance Reviews, Dilyana’s World, Funzee’s Cozy Couch, Lelyana’s Reviews, Rainbow Gold Reviews, Boulevard des Passions, October 17Love Bytes Reviews, October 18The Librarian’s Corner, Xtreme Delusions, Megan’s Media Melange, Urban Smoothie Read, Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words, Reading In Sarah’s Corner, Kaidans Seduction, Dream Love Imagine, October 19The Novel Approach, October 20Cupcakes & Bookshelves, Book Corner Reviews, Jim’s Reading Room, We Three Queens, Making It Happen, Wicked Reads, V’s Reads, October 22Wicked Faerie’s Tales & Reviews, Open Mind For A Different View, MM Good Book Reviews, October 23Mirrigold, October 24Bonkers About Books, Valerie Ullmer, Sanaa’s Book Blog, BFD Book Blog, Lillian Francis, Jessie G Books, Books Laid Bare Boys, Love, Sawyer, October 25Gay Book Reviews, October 26Bayou Book Junkie

 

Read Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words 5 star review here.

About Eli

Having been, at various times and under different names, a minister’s daughter, a computer programmer, a game designer, the author of paranormal mysteries, a fan fiction writer, and organic farmer, Eli has been a m/m romance author since 2013. She has over 30 books published.


Eli has loved romance since her teens and she particular admires writers who can combine literary merit, genuine humor, melting hotness, and eye-dabbing sweetness into one story. She promises to strive to achieve most of that most of the time. She currently lives on a farm in Pennsylvania with her husband, bulldogs, cows, a cat, and lots of groundhogs.


In romance, Eli is best known for her Christmas stories because she’s a total Christmas sap. These include “Blame it on the Mistletoe”, “Unwrapping Hank” and “Merry Christmas, Mr. Miggles”. Her “Howl at the Moon” series of paranormal romances featuring the town of Mad Creek and its dog shifters has been popular with readers. And her series of Amish-themed romances, Men of Lancaster County, has won genre awards.


In 2018 Eli hopes to do more of the same, assuming they reschedule the apocalypse.


Her website is www.elieaston.com
You can email her at eli@elieaston.com

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