Sean Michael on Time Change, Routine, and his latest release ‘Personal Best 2’ (author guest blog)

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Personal Best 2 by Sean Michael
Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: Alexandria Corza

Sales Links:    Dreamspinner Press | Amazon

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to have Sean Michael here today talking about his latest release Personal Best 2.  Welcome, Sean.

 

✒︎

 

 

Thank you to Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words for hosting me today!

So, we fell back by an hour over the weekend and I haven’t been able to catch up since. The time change – both of them – really mess me up. You wouldn’t think an hour would make that big a difference, but it does, every time, and it seems to be getting harder to deal with the older I get.

Plus it’s now dark at like 4:30, and that’s only going to get worse the closer we get to Christmas. I think that’s why we do lights and decorations outside – it really brightens the dark nights up.

I imagine for someone like Mike, from Personal Best 2, who very much relies on his routine, it wouldn’t matter. He’d simply adjust everything by an hour. Or at least his coach Jessy would!

Mike and Jessy were such a joy to write, I did all three books over one summer and it was a sad thing for me when they were done with their story because I didn’t want to let them go. I hope you enjoy reading them as much as I loved writing them.

Sean Michael

smut fixes everything

Blurb:

Swimmer Mike Gauliet is moving up in the elite ranks of the American swim team, despite his repetitive stress injuries. He’s hiding his pain from coach Jessy Turner, not wanting to give in to it or let his coach and lover down, and by the time he gets treatment, it’s almost too late.

Jessy helps Mike heal, both in an out of the bedroom, and their need for each other grows as quickly as Mike’s career. They’re scorching hot and ready to go to the top competitions when another injury forces Mike to the sidelines. Jessy thinks this one is no accident, and Mike has to work hard to recover the lost ground.

Mike needs a break from the nonstop stress of training, so they move to the coast so Mike can recuperate once again. But their struggles don’t end with getting him back in competition form, and they can’t truly call it a victory unless they can find the balance between their romantic relationship and Mike grabbing the success he’s earned.

About Sean Michael

Best-selling author Sean Michael is a maple leaf–loving Canadian who spends hours hiding out in used book stores. With far more ideas than time, Sean keeps several documents open at all times. From romance to fantasy, paranormal and sci-fi, Sean is limited only by the need for sleep—and the periodic Beaver Tail.

Sean fantasizes about one day retiring on a secluded island populated entirely by horseshoe crabs after inventing a brain-to-computer dictation system. Until then, Sean will continue to write the old-fashioned way.

Sean Michael on the web:

WEBSITE: http://www.seanmichaelwrites.com

BLOG: http://seanmichaelwrites.blogspot.ca

FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/SeanMichaelWrites/

TWITTER: seanmichael09

INSTAGRAM: https://www.instagram.com/seanmichaelpics/

An Ali Audio Review: No Tears for Darcy by Vicki Reese and Brock Hatton (Narrator)

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Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Letting love pass them by would be a crime.

Former forensic accountant Cameron has lost nearly everyone he’s ever loved, and now his vintage clothing shop has been broken into and trashed. When town police chief Will Carson asks an out-of-town cop friend of his for help, Cam takes one look at the dark-haired, blue-eyed detective and knows he’s in real trouble—and it has nothing to do with vandalism or murder.

Pete Minchelli is on leave from his job in Philadelphia due to a gunshot wound, but he figures he can help an academy buddy with some light police work. Plus, he’ll have a chance to experience small-town life. He’s tired of the big city and all its corruption. But he quickly discovers that not all the bad stuff happens in cities. What he doesn’t expect to find is death, treachery—or love.

This was a romantic suspense with a pretty entertaining plotline.  The story is told from multiple points of view.  This is not something that always works for me but in this case I found myself enjoying see the story unfold through the various character’s eyes.
I liked both Cam and Pete and I thought their romance was lovely.  It was sweet and I really liked the two of them together.  They had what I would consider a happily for now. I would definitely like to read a short story about them down the road.
This was narrated by Brock Hatton who was a new narrator for me.  I thought he had a nice voice and did a good job on the different characters and the different points of view.
Overall I really enjoyed this and would recommend it. Both the author and narrator were new to me but I would try both of their works again.
Cover Artist: Tiferet Design
Audiobook Details:
Length: 6 hrs and 28 mins
Audible Audio
Published September 13th 2018 by Dreamspinner Press LLC (first published April 3rd 2018)
Original Title No Tears for Darcy
ASIN B07GVRFNKN
Edition Language English

An Alisa Review: Lazy Sundays (Lazy Days #1) by K-lee Klein

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Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Scott Weston’s car is sensible, his suits are bland, and his job is stable but boring. Mundane routine helps keep his anxiety and obsessive tendencies under control. Socializing—especially dating—isn’t on his list of strong skills either, and, made worse with the echoes of his disapproving mother. So he’s content to stay at home with his lists and cleaning and wildlife documentaries, until a one-night stand goes unexpectedly right.

History has taught Devon DuCaine that dating can be uncomfortable, but there’s just something about Scott. He may be the opposite of Devon’s own long-haired, tattooed, free-wheeling spirit but he brings out the nurturer in Devon. Maybe it’s Scott’s surprising fascination with Devon’s motorcycle, or his shy surprise in moments of affection, but there’s more under those sensible suits than meets the eye. The most important person in Devon’s life, his mom, taught him love and compassion and that’s all he wants to share that with Scott.

Their one-night stand turns into a regular thing, but Scott doesn’t trust it to last. He’s pretty sure Devon is hiding something. He’s even more sure that once Devon gets to know him, the attraction will fade. And then there’s his mother. However many sparks fly between them, Devon will have his work cut out to convince Scott they can have their happily ever after.

(This book was originally published as 2 short stories. They’re combined here with massive edits and double the content from the originals.)

I read the original shorts a long time ago and know I enjoyed them but didn’t remember much.  I was excited to read this one and get a fresh look at this story and I really enjoyed it.

Scott has never had much encouragement or support and love from his family while Devon has a wonderful support system behind him and his own self-confidence.  They come from such different backgrounds but have much more in common than one could ever think.

Scott is so terribly shy and unsure, just waiting for his time with Devon to end.  I felt his pain and fear but loved how Devon wanted him to see how worthy he was.  It took a bit to get to know Devon since the first part of the book was all from Scott’s point of view and Devon was very secretive but once he opened up he held on with both hands.  I just wish Scott hadn’t been hurt so much in the process.  I liked their relationship once they figured everything out and how they supported each other.  There were a few times where things were discussed multiple times or brought up again after a previous discussion and that is really the only problem I had with the story.

The cover art by Karrie Jax is wonderful and I loved the visuals of the characters.

Sales Link: Amazon | B&N

Book Details:

ebook, 383 pages

Published: September 26, 2018 by K-lee Klein Books

Edition Language: English

A MelanieM Audiobook Review: The Lion and the Crow by Eli Easton and Scott Richard Ehredt (Narrator)

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

In medieval England, duty is everything, personal honor is more valued than life itself, and homosexuality is not tolerated by the church or society.

Sir Christian Brandon was raised in a household where he was hated for his unusual beauty and for his parentage. Being smaller than his six brutish half-brothers, he learned to survive by using his wits and his gift for strategy, earning him the nickname the Crow.

Sir William Corbett, a large and fierce warrior known as the Lion, has pushed his unnatural desires down all his life. He’s determined to live up to his own ideal of a gallant knight. When he takes up a quest to rescue his sister from her abusive lord of a husband, he’s forced to enlist the help of Sir Christian. It’s a partnership that will test every strand of his moral fiber, and, eventually, his understanding of the meaning of duty, honor, and love.

Per Eli Easton herself,”this new edition of The Lion and the Crow from Dreamspinner has about 12K new words added, including new scenes and a new epilogue, plus it’s been fully re-edited.”  Having read the original novel when it first came out and loved it, I couldn’t wait to see what this new, revised version sounded like in an audiobook format.  What a unmitigated joy this audio turned out to be!

In The Lion and the Crow, Easton sinks her teeth into 1300’s England.  It’s a crude and cruel place, where brawn, privilege, and brutality  thrive  and all else struggle to survive.  Especially beauty in youth, no matter the gender. It’s a product and something to be used by others, and a weakness. It’s a mean, savage land of titles, and entrenched nobility and their rules.  The poor, the odd, those on the edge are bound to suffer and die.

It’s in this setting, that we have Sirs Christian Brandon and William Corbett.  One the youngest son and least regarded in his household because of his beauty, small size, and the fact that his mother was the second wife.  Sir William Corbett, who came looking for help for himself and his abused sister from Christian’s father, is the opposite.  Huge, a first son and heir, a lion in stature in every way. The characters the author has created in each man is perfect for the time, the personalities, the words and dialog the flows between them that reflects the society and the world around them.   Whether or not, you are a fan of historical fiction, you can’t help but be pulled into this story and their lives by her authentic descriptions and vivid  scenes.

The romance between Christian and William as it progresses from attraction to deep love on their journey from Christian’s castle to the land where Willian’s sister lives also feels historically accurate as it does believable.  William is filled with shame over his feelings towards Christian, how they come to work through the issues in their heads and hearts rings true in every way.  It’s sexy, scary, hard, and utterly romantic in a Medieval way.  Through the action, the  adventure of the journey to save Elaine from her abusive husband in an age where she’s considered his property, the dangers inherent in their weak numbers in an enemies land…it has all the elements of an harrowing and memorable tale.

I have to admit that epilogue had me choking back the tears and then finally just bawling like a baby.  Nothing like living a lifetime with these two men that you have come to love deeply and finding it has been  lived well and true.

And oh that narrator!  Such a richness in his voice, such gravel and depth that the English language and Eli Easton’s story just flows off his tongue with a sort of poetry.  Each character has a distinct personality/voice. Scott Richard Ehredt makes each man or woman someone we can believe in and relate to.  It’s the first time I have heard him narrator a story but now I will actively seek out more novels read by him because he’s just superb.  He took an already excellent story and elevated it further.

If you love to listen to novels, The Lion and the Crow by Eli Easton and Scott Richard Ehredt (Narrator) is one I highly recommend.  I recommend it to lovers of historical romance and fiction and to lovers of romance no matter the era.  I think its perfection, especially as narrated by Scott Richard Ehredt.  Don’t pass this one up.

Cover Artist: Maria Fanning.  I love this cover.  It’s one of my all time favorites in tone and composition.  That’s truly the Lion on the cover.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | Amazon | Audible | iTunes

Audiobook Details:

Narrated by: Scott Richard Ehredt
Length: 5 hrs and 3 mins
Unabridged Audiobook

Audible Audio
Published July 14th 2015 by Dreamspinner Press LLC (first published June 1st 2013)
ASINB011LNDE3Y
Edition LanguageEnglish
CharactersSir Christian Brandon, Sir William Corbet settingEngland

A Chaos Moondrawn Review: Trusted (Until You #3) by Karrie Roman

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Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5

This starts three days after the events of the previous book and focuses on Zach, the cult leader’s son, who was rescued during an FBI raid on the compound. He may have had a crush on Ben for helping rescue him, but it’s Ben’s brother Cameron who is helping him now by giving him a place to stay. Since he’s grown up in a cult, he really doesn’t know how to deal with the modern world and needs help navigating his new reality. Also, the legal issues are just beginning as the FBI questions all the cult members in order to get evidence on the men they arrested, including “Father” Piper. Many of the cultists are brainwashed and hate Zach for trying to help save them from being killed.

The fun parts of this book are really all of Zach’s firsts: candy, popcorn, movie theater, plane, ocean–yes, other firsts too. This will appeal to readers who like the hurt/comfort trope. Often, it’s Cameron who seems most hurt by some past event. Having Cameron be the one who is scared, unsure, and flustered by Zach’s advances makes it work for me in a way it wouldn’t if Cameron were the aggressor. It would be difficult to get past the idea that Zach was being taken advantage of. It also helps there’s only an 8 year age difference. I like that Cameron trusts his brother Ben enough to talk about his past: that this book can portray a strong, successful rescue pilot without the toxic masculinity. I liked them both as characters, but I felt Cameron was not as well written as Zach. I wanted them to have their happy ending because that’s what you expect in a romance, but I wasn’t really emotionally invested in it. Both Cameron and Zach fight their own demons, which is as it should be–no one can fix everything for you.

Cameron tries pushing Zach away, but when Cameron’s past has come back to haunt him and Zach is in danger all bets are off. In comparison with book two, the action sequences are contained here. The story really splits nicely into three parts: Zach adjusting to the world while Cameron fights his attraction to Zach, Zach’s rescue, and then the conclusion of Zach dealing with his mother and father. This works well and flows nicely. This book also does a better job of recapping in a way that you could read it as a standalone, but it is really a continuation of book two. In fact, at this point book one is the anomaly except that Lucas and Ryan are funding the adventures.

Lucas, Ryan, Ben, and Ethan have started an investigation firm to help find missing children. Zach wants to work with them to help, so I expect Cameron will too. The next book seems like it’s going to feature Alec finally, the now former FBI agent we met in book two. This series seems like it will go back into the action adventure mode previously established, but it was nice to get a bit of a breather here–there was action, but it was a smaller part of the overall story about two men who want to move on with their lives and leave their bad past behind.

The cover art is by Natasha Snow. The models’ pose with the jacket is a little strange but I like the rest of the cover. The bottom has echos of Zach’s nightmares. With Cameron being a helicopter pilot and Zach wanting to learn, it has the look of them flying off into the sunset together.

Sales Links:  NineStar Press | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook
Published October 29th 2018 by NineStar Press
ISBN139781949909081
Edition LanguageEnglish

Series Until You #3

An Alisa Review: Carnival Cowboy by Temple Madison

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Rating: 3 stars out of 5

At the end of a bloody trail, Johnny Redd finds an incredible secret.

While struggling with a bullet in his chest, he crawls along the ground until he finds himself surrounded by a maze of quaint carnival tarps. Inside is a world of color, costumes, false hair, nails, eyelashes — and a man who dresses like a woman. It’s a world of trickery, deception, and lies. Johnny makes it just inside the tent when his strength fails and he faints dead away. When he awakes, he’s reminded of the bizarre reality that surrounds him.

It’s that he learns he has been taken care of by a man – er. woman — by the name of Frenchy Starr. The name rolls from the tongue of this fallen angel, this princess of darkness, this twilight queen. She’s a mystery, a dangerously beautiful mystery, and Johnny slowly becomes ensnared in the trap which she sets.

After one night of incredible love, a jealous fan shoots Frenchy. Thinking her dead, Johnny’s heart is broken and he leaves in search of something to fill the hole she left in his heart.

Enter Kit Dalton.

I’m not really sure what to say about this story.  I didn’t like the whole fend for yourself and it doesn’t matter about anyone else attitude that went on in the story, maybe it was right for the time period but it made it hard for me to enjoy the story.  Also, the characters didn’t often talk directly about subjects and it was frustrating.

Johnny and Kit have a connection but they both need to come clean first which takes most of the book.  I didn’t feel like I was able to connect with these characters or understand them all that much.  Most of the writing just felt disconnected from the characters.  I didn’t not like it but it didn’t connect with me either.

The cover art by Written Ink Designs works well for the story.

Sales Links: JMS Books | Amazon | B&N

Book Details:

Ebook, 21,050 words

Published: September 22, 2018 by JMS Books

ISBN: 9781634867412

Edition Language: English

Book Blast – The Signal Box by Lazlo Thorn (except)

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BOOK BLAST

Book Title: The Signal Box

Author: Lazlo Thorn

Publisher: MLR Press

Cover Artist: Lex Valentine

Genre/s: Gay Romance / Erotica with some BDSM themes

Heat Rating: 4 flames

Length:  34,000 words / 75  pages

Release Date: April 5, 2018

It is a standalone book.

Add on Goodreads

“When you tie me like that, when I’m sure I can’t get free,

well it’s like everything becomes still.

I’m still. Everything is calm.”

Blurb

Autumn, 1913. Wiltshire, England. Davy Buckland, a boiler cleaner in the engine shed at the local railway station, was nineteen when he took a shine to the signalman at nearby Oakwood Junction. He didn’t know much about Nathaniel, but he recognised a man who could show him the ropes and how the isolated signal box in the Edwardian countryside where he worked, could provide the perfect hideaway for their clandestine games. By the time the Great War had started and these two ordinary men had become lovers, it wasn’t only the trains that were greased up and running on a good head of steam. But just how long could they keep this affair a secret? And what would the consequences be, if their unusual sexual liaison was ever discovered?

Buy Links

MLR Books

Amazon US 

Amazon UK 

B&N 

Excerpt

He bounded up the steps enthusiastically and entered the signal box still dressed in the dirty overalls he’d worn while working on the engine that morning. By contrast Nathaniel Bixby, the signalman, looked clean and very smart in his dark black railway uniform, white shirt and company cap with the copper SWR badge. He was a tall, clean shaven man with hair the colour of a rusty firebox, handsome in an ordinary way. His uniform suggested broad shoulders and enhanced his capable bearing. His military background made him used to wearing a uniform well and his only concession to civilian life was a loosened tie. As Davy entered, he stood proudly by the rack of eight tall metal levers, some red, some yellow and some black, each the height of his chest, that dominated the area in front of the big window. He had a dirty rag draped over his shoulder. He looked at Davy then checked the time using the big pocket watch he kept in his waistcoat.

“You’re early,” he said.

“Sorry, Mr Bixby. I thought I’d come straight here,” Davy replied.

“So I can see,” Nathaniel said, studying the dirt all over Davy’s face and overalls. “Throw a log on the fire. The pot’s hot. Make yourself a cup of tea. Let me get the thirteen-twenty out of the way and then we’ll get started.”

Nathaniel dutifully returned to his job and using the old rag to improve his grip began pulling some of the levers to switch the points and set the signals, taking particular care to set the stop signal on the branch line to ensure a clear passage for the impending express that would shortly reach the junction.

Davy opened the small, black stove in the corner of the signal box, poked the embers and put another log in it from the nearby basket. Then he brewed a cup of tea in a stained tin mug. He observed as the older man deftly made light work of the heavy-duty engineering in his office. A couple of bells rang a rhythmic beat in code with a message from a neighbouring signal box along the line. Nathaniel responded in kind. With the rack set, he waited, leaning casually on one of the levers while looking up the line for signs of the express. Then right on cue and with a piercing whistle the train he had been preparing for came thundering round the bend, past the box and into the cutting. The windows rattled and the surrounding trees vanished in volcanic clouds of steam as the fire-breathing monster made off into the distance and once again the little clearing in the woods was quiet. Nathaniel returned the levers to their original settings and, as was his custom, hung the old rag over the one on the end. He turned to Davy.

“It’ll be quiet now for a bit,” he said with a grin.

Nathaniel took off his waistcoat and company cap, put them on a nearby chair next to the desk in the corner of the room and locked the door. Next, he rolled up his sleeves revealing the strong, hairy forearms that gave him the strength to make such light work of the heavy, clunky levers in the box.

Davy gulped down the rest of his tea while Nathaniel retrieved an old canvas rucksack from under the desk. He unfastened the bag and took out a short length of rope. Davy lay face down on the hard, wooden floor and—in a by now well-rehearsed routine—placed his hands behind his back where Nathaniel bound them. First his wrists and then his ankles. Then more rope, longer this time, firmly around his upper body and shoulders and finally that cruel ligature that drew his ankles right up to his wrists rendering Davy immobile and blissfully helpless. Davy watched as Nathaniel stood up and studied his handiwork for a moment. Then he replaced his waistcoat and cap before he silently returned to his post at the lever rack.

Lying motionless on the floor, Davy could feel the rough floorboard against his cheek. He glanced over to where Nathaniel was standing with his back to him, watching out of the window and vigilantly minding his station. From this angle, Davy could see the scratches in the heels of his well-worn black leather boots and the backs of his tall, strong legs. After a moment, Davy tested the ropes, but as usual Nathaniel had been very thorough, careful to put the knots out of the reach of his nimble fingers and to place the coils around his body where the contours of his own muscles blocked any prospect of easy slippage. He rolled. Now, he was facing the back of the box. Once again, he tried flexing his arms and legs, pushing against the ropes but if anything, the struggling only seemed to make everything feel even tighter, even more of a tangle. So, he wrestled with the restraints some more, relishing the sensation. He knew from experience that being tied up like this it would take him hours to get free. He was a prisoner, just the way he liked it.

About the Author 

Lazlo Thorn published his first novel (The Signal Box) in 2018. In his work he explores themes about life, death, love and sexuality, set against the social mores and prevailing attitudes to gay sex at different times and in different places.

His forthcoming novel (Pain and Promise), due for release shortly, takes the reader to a small town on the Adriatic coast of Italy where two love stories, separated by almost forty years, become linked in an unexpected way.

He has nursed an ambition to be a writer for a number of years, but has only recently been able to make sufficient space in his life to begin committing some of his ideas to paper. The author has lived and worked in various countries and travelled widely in Europe and beyond.

Today, he lives in England with his husband, in a quiet seaside town on the south coast.

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