Sean Michael on Honeycombs, Baking, and his new release ‘Home and Heart’ (author guest blog)

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Home and Heart by Sean Michael

Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: Alexandria Corza

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | Amazon

 

 

 

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

December is such a busy month, isn’t it? On top of all the regular stuff there’s parties and presents and a big meal with family and friends. It just seems to be go go go until the big day and then it’s all over just like that.

I have been a cookie baking fiend. I always give family and close friends a variety of cookies. I love being able to make a wide variety and then split them out and everyone gets a half dozen of a bunch of different kinds. It works out well. But it makes for a very busy cookie-baking time! I have my favorites, but I also bake a few that I never eat because I know family members love them best. My favorite this year was honeycomb – because omg, it worked and I didn’t burn down the house!

I imagine of all the guys in Home and Heart that Sawyer is the one most likely to bake cookies, although he’ll have an enthusiastic helper in Derek. And all the guys will definitely help eat said cookies. As to what kind of a cookie-man each of the four main characters are – I’ll let you decide for yourself what kind you think they’d each like!

And that just begs the question – what kind of cookie do you like best?

Sean “Honeycomb” Michael

smut fixes everything

Blurb:

Is it possible to find the heart’s home twice in a lifetime?

Six years ago, Sawyer Burroughs’s life fell apart. His soul mate and husband of four years died of cancer, and he fell into depression… and a bottle. It’s taken six years, but he’s turned his life around and is ready to start again on the other side of the country.

In his new apartment, he’s welcomed by his young and carefree neighbor, Derek, from across the hall. Derek is eager to make Sawyer feel welcome and even offers him a place to stay when Sawyer arrives ahead of his furniture.

The upstairs neighbors are just as friendly, and soon Sawyer finds a place with the friends-with-benefits threesome. He’s not the shy, vanilla lover they think he is, though, and he’s hiding more than a pair of nipple rings. As it happens, the guys have kinky secrets of their own, but for four men to make a BDSM relationship last, they’ll have to figure some things out.

Excerpt:

Sawyer opened the door to his new place and stared around at the empty space. He’d rented the place sight unseen, and he had to admit it looked small without any furniture. Even with furniture it was going to be smaller than the house back… the old house. He took a deep breath.

Okay. Okay, this was going to be home now. He’d sold everything he didn’t need, he’d sold the house, and he’d packed up his SUV and moved across country to Halifax.

A new house. A new start. A new life.

He wasn’t going to cry. He wasn’t. He was a grown man with cash and a good freelance job writing for catalogs with a side gig of writing greeting cards. Change was good. Scary, but good. Right? Right. He took another deep breath and squared his shoulders.

Sawyer opened the windows to let the air in; then he went to explore—he had a nice living area, an eat-in kitchen that was plenty big enough to cook in, a master, and a tiny second bedroom for an office. The leasing agent said it was the smallest apartment of the four, but it suited him, and the price was reasonable.

The building was an old house converted into four apartments. The bones of the place were lovely. He just hoped the other tenants didn’t throw too many loud parties. Gosh, that was such an old-man thing to think, wasn’t it?

Of course, he was a widower, a recovering alcoholic, and a bit of a hermit. Which made him sound ancient. But it was the mileage not the years, wasn’t it?

He supposed he should do something about getting the stuff in his van into the apartment. At least a chair so he had somewhere to sit. He had a couple of lawn chairs, a foldout cot, his laptop, his books, and his kitchen stuff with him. The rest he was going to have to buy. Now that he was here without anything, it was tempting to second-guess the decision to sell everything, but his reasoning had been sound. He was starting anew, and that included leaving behind the things he’d shared with James and actually starting fresh.

A knock sounded at the door, startling him out of his thoughts.

He jumped, put his hand on his chest, then went to the door, curious. He opened it slowly. “Hello?”

A young guy with shaggy blond hair and lovely gray eyes stood there, lounging against the door. “Hey, man. I’m across the hall in 1B—Derek. Nice to meet you.”

“Derek? Hello, I’m Sawyer Ham… Burroughs.”

“Hamburroughs? Cool.” Derek looked past him. “Dude, your place is pretty bare.”

“This is my first hour, and it’s just Burroughs.” He didn’t know why he’d stopped using James’s name, but… this was part of his new start, right?

About the Author

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/

A Stella Review : Operation Toy Rescue by Sarah Hadley Brook

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RATING 4 out of 5 stars

When Jules Evergreen lands in trouble at the North Pole and gets shipped off to Snow Hope Island for ninety days, he never expects to take up the cause of the forgotten toys waiting for new homes. Falling for his new boss is not on the agenda either, but his heart has other ideas.

Felix Winterson has grown up on Snow Hope Island and now runs the place. He isn’t thrilled when party boy Jules arrives, and Felix tries hard to ignore the man’s charms. He has other problems, anyway. For years he’s tried to get Santa to look at the growing inventory of damaged toys in the warehouse, to no avail.

When Jules comes up with a plan to save the toys, the men find themselves working closely together. As Christmas Eve looms, there’s a lot at stake. Can they save Snow Hope, convince Santa to rescue the toys, and fall in love all at the same time?

Operation Toy Rescue is not the first book I read by this author and I have to say I am always quite happy to read her stories, they’re always simple, cute and light. This new holiday release was really well done. I was able to breath all the Christmas spirit, with all the snow and toys I read about.

I fell into Jules and Felix magical world in a bit, the narration was always engaging and easy to follow. I smiled from the start till the ending, these two young men, and all the Snow Hope Island creek, put me in a good mood. I appreciate their efforts and stubbornness at showing Santa all the defective toys could have a second life and a new destination in another child’s home. The same second life Jules found in the island and into Felix arms. I adored them together, the way they first studied each other, full of attraction and suspicion, and then when they finally saw past appearances, the happy ending was assured.

I feel to recommend Operation Toy Rescue, it was a lovely surprise, it gave me  magic, hope and love, I loved it.

The cover art is cute, well done, but I would have preferred something more magical to truly fit the plot.

Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK | JMS Books

BOOK DETAILS

Kindle Edition

Published December 15th 2018 by JMS Books LLC

ASIN B07L81237Y

Edition Language English

An Alisa Review: Vampire with Benefits (Supernatural Selection #2) by E.J. Russell

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Rating:  4 stars out of 5

 

A match between a vampire and shifter could be deadly—but this broken beaver doesn’t give a dam.

 

Silent film actor Casimir Moreau had imagined that life as a vampire would be freewheeling and glamorous. Instead, he’s plunged into a restrictive society whose rules he runs afoul of at every turn. To “rehabilitate” him, the vampire council orders him mated to an incubus with impeccable breeding who’ll mold Cas into the upstanding vampire he ought to be. Or else.

 

As an inactive beaver shifter, construction engineer Rusty Johnson has fought—and overcome—bias and disrespect his entire life. But when his longtime boyfriend leaves him for political reasons, Rusty is ready to call it a day. Next stop? Supernatural Selection and his guaranteed perfect mate, a bear shifter living far away from Rusty’s disapproving clan.

 

But then a spell snafu at Supernatural Selection robs both men of their intended husbands. Rusty can’t face returning to his clan, and Cas needs somebody on his arm to keep the council happy, so they agree to pretend to be married. Nobody needs to know their relationship is fake—especially since it’s starting to feel suspiciously like the real thing.

 

This is another great story in this series, with a very interesting turn.  Cas is dreading his sentence of being married to who the council has chosen and jumps at the chance to throw it back in their faces.  Rusty just wants someone to actually care about him and basically not be a jerk, he isn’t expecting much just to get away from his ex.

 

This story is taking place at the same time as the first book which was interesting.  Cas and Rusty work together from the beginning and grow closer over time.  When they discover how Rusty could help Cas get his life back and help fix something from Cas’s past they jump right in.

 

I easily connected with Rusty, he has always been the outcast and never expects more than that but he is so caring and fierce at the same time.  Cas took a bit to grow on me, but once he stopped trying to defy everything it’s easy to see that he isn’t happy and deeply regrets even becoming a vampire but he would never have gotten to meet Rusty.  I loved the connection these two have and the twist at the end to get a happily ever after was great.

 

Cover art by LC Chase is adorable and I love the style an how it matches the first book too.

 

Sales Links: Riptide Publishing | Amazon | B&N

 

Book Details:

ebook, 300 pages

Published: November 26, 2018 by Riptide Publishing

ISBN: 978-1-62649-856-3

Edition Language: English

Series: Supernatural Selection #2

A MelanieM Release Day Review: Tutus and Tinsel (Half Moon Bay #2.5) by Rhys Ford

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Rating: 4.6 stars out of 5

Zig Reid-Harris has everything an eleven-year-old girl could ever want: a great home, two fantastic fathers named Deacon Reid and Lang Harris, and all the books she could possible read.

When a school assignment about holiday traditions unexpectedly broadsides her, she discovers burying the past isn’t as easy as it looks, and the stark reality of her life before her adoption sinks in. Ashamed of the bleakness and poverty she came from, Zig struggles with the assignment until an epiphany strikes the whole family—it’s time to start their own traditions.

Zig and her fathers plunge into the insanity of holiday joy, exploring everything the season has to offer and learning how precious family truly is along the way.

The theme of this story, making new family traditions at the holidays, comes about through a fairly typical homework assignment, one I would  imagine needs revisiting in RL schools just as it does here in Tutus and Tinsel (Half Moon Bay #2.5) by Rhys Ford.  Given the complexities these days in what constitutes a modern “family” and how that family is constructed, I would think that (hopefully) teachers at every level are becoming sensitive to handing out a “simple” homework paper on  family’s holiday traditions.

Ford takes our own memories of such an homework papers and perhaps our family traditions and runs it smack up against a small powerhouse of a character called Zig to devastating results.  Zig has no past history of “adorable Christmas traditions” having barely survived her childhood to find her uncle.  Here that lack comes roaring home and it’s up to her fathers to help her find and create new traditions for them all.

This story roils with emotions.  Rhys Ford takes us back into the past, broken shards of parental abuse and neglect that still stab at both Zig and Deacon, and Lang’s there to love and hold both close.  I loved seeing all the other characters as well pull together to try different crafts, “trying on” traditions to make their own  as a family.  This story is excellently written, tightly constructed as I  have come to expect from this author, and flows beautifully, full of emotion and heart.

Tutus and Tinsel explores what it means to be a family again at Christmas and shines a light on how exactly something becomes a family tradition in the first place.  It’s heartwarming, suffused with the holiday  spirit and love.  I found it perfect holiday reading.

It is, however, not a standalone story.  So treat yourself, if you are not already familiar with the series, to the preceding stories.  You will love them!

Cover art:   Reece Notley.  Love the cover because it captures Tig perfectly with her tutu.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner PressAmazon

Book Details:

ebook, 95 pages
Expected publication: December 21st 2018 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN 139781644051511
Edition Language English
Series Half Moon Bay #2.5

Fish Stick Fridays

Hanging The Stars

Tutus and Tinsel

A MelanieM Advent Calendar Review: Slow Summer Heat by Renae Kaye

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Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5

 

A Story from the Warmest Wishes: Dreamspinner Press 2018 Advent Calendar

Geoffrey Saxon is in his forties, a bit plump, a lot fuzzy, and rather boring in bed—and thanks to a very public breakup, everyone in his street knows it. However, what they don’t know is that Geoffrey sometimes watches his hot young neighbor, Vaughn, in the pool. Vaughn has invited Geoffrey to join his pool parties, but Geoffrey knows it’s only pity.

As if things can’t get worse, Geoffrey’s air conditioner breaks during a heat wave in Western Australia—and just before Christmas. In search of some relief, he camps out in his backyard, where he also has a prime view of Vaughn swimming… naked. When Geoffrey’s injured falling from his spying post, Vaughn comes to his rescue and Geoffrey doesn’t think he can be more horrified.

But he could be in for a sweet holiday surprise. Is he ready to take the dive?

Slow Summer Heat by Renae Kaye is a sweet, heartwarming story about an older man who’s been hurt by his ex and a humiliating breakup to an extent that’s he’s withdrawn from a social life into his house and a lonely existence.  Kaye does this type of character really well.  You can see Geoffrey quite clearly from her vivid descriptions to his dialogs (inner conversations and those with his gorgeous neighbor).

Geoffrey teeters briefly on the edge of a character that could go into the kink or voyeur as he’s convinced he’s so unattractive that no one wants him, so he turns down his neighbor’s invitations.  That leads to spying which leads to other things.  With Kaye, you get a great feel as to who Geoffrey is, his background, family, etc. You understand just how badly this past relationship has affected him and why, including the scene made in the street.

What’s missing is Vaughn’s portion.  At least I mostly felt that way for me.  Geoffrey is our narrator so we see this gorgeous young roofer through his eyes but even with all their conversations Vaughn never feel’s as fully fleshed out a personality as Geoffrey does. That could certainly be due to the shortness of the story.  I  just wished for more of the man Geoffrey was crushing on all this time.

Still Slow Summer Heat is a cute hot holiday romance.  A quick read with a touch of the Australian heat for something different.

Cover Artist: Adrian Nicholas.  The pool is a major element here so it works for the cover but there should be more to it as well.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 1st edition, 54 pages
Published December 1st 2018 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN 139781644050583
Edition Language English

Verity Croker on Writing, Characters and her new novel ‘ Jilda’s Ark’ (guest post)

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Jilda’s Ark by Verity Croker

Harmony Ink Press
Cover Artist: Kanaxa

Sales Links:  AmazonBarnes & Noble | Harmony Ink Press | Dreamspinner Press

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to host Verity Croker here today answering our author questions and talking about her latest story, Jilda’s Ark.

✒︎

 

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words Interview with Verity Croker

Why do you write? With so much going on in the world today, do you write to explain? To get away? To move past? To widen our knowledge?

I write because I feel compelled to. An idea jumps into my head and then I become consumed by it and just have to write about it. Jilda’s Ark, my latest YA novel published by Harmony Ink Press, is about climate change and environmental refugees, important issues in this day and age, and I hope readers might think about the consequences of climate change for both humans and animals, while enjoying the romance at the center of the story. May Day Mine, my previous YA novel published by Harmony Ink Press in 2015, was an attempt to understand how a family who lives in the town where the mine collapse takes place reacts to and copes with the situation.

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

With May Day Mine, I had to do some research as it was based on a real event in Tasmania, Australia, where two miners were trapped in a very small space underground for two weeks after a rock fall in the mine. I wanted to get the facts right, as even though the story was fictional, the background event really happened and was extremely traumatic. I altered some of the facts, particularly related to the men involved, in order to disguise their identities – I changed the number of men trapped and killed, so that no one character matched a particular person. Jilda’s Ark is purely fictional, set in the near future, and it all just poured out onto the page like I was writing down the movie I was seeing in my head.

How much of yourself goes into a character?

The characters come to me and become real people as I write their story. Sometimes they amaze me with what they do, as I didn’t plan that or see it coming. The characters take over and I just go along for the ride, watching what they get up to and the decisions they make. I’m not sure whether parts of myself are in the characters, or they are completely independent. Perhaps I need to see what others who know me think about this, as I am too close to my characters.

How do you choose your covers?

I am incredibly lucky with Harmony Ink Press, as they allow me so much input into the cover design. I have a lot of opportunity to give feedback on different versions of the cover until both the designer and I are happy with the end result. I have been thrilled with the covers of both May Day Mine and Jilda’s Ark, and so pleased that I have been allowed so much input into the look of the final design.

If you could imagine the best possible place for you to write, where would that be and why?

I would love to write at a huge picture window in a house on a clifftop overlooking the ocean, so whenever I looked up from my computer I could see the waves, sand and sky. When I needed a break, I could walk on the beach and rejuvenate myself ready for the next chapter.

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

I think the ebook format is a great alternative to a paperback, or hardback, as you can carry so many of them around on your device, especially when on vacation. But, a physical book is so much better to read on a beach, as you don’t really want to get sand in your device, and the sun shining on the screen makes it difficult to read. And you don’t need to worry about battery life with a book! Another plus is you can easily share your books with your friends.

What’s next for you as an author?

I am in the middle of writing a book set in Antarctica, with romance once again at the center. I would like to keep writing young adult novels, as I find it so enjoyable and rewarding.

Blurb

What was supposed to be a sixteenth birthday celebration cruise for identical twins Jilda and Rosa quickly turns into a nightmare. While her mother and sister are enjoying an excursion on a Fijian island, Jilda, who is unwell and remains onboard, finds their ship has sailed off, leaving most of its passengers stranded on shore.

An unknown group has overtaken the ship. After a few days, they collect thousands of new passengers from a distant archipelago, making conditions onboard overcrowded and uncomfortable. Nobody seems to know where they are headed, so the mood on the ship rapidly deteriorates. Though Jilda is desperate to reunite with her family, she meets someone who comforts her and will completely change her world. But how will her new friend Jade feel when she learns Jilda has a boyfriend back home?

About the Author Verity Croker

Verity Croker writes across a variety of genres. Her novels for young adult readers, May Day Mine and Jilda’s Ark are published by Harmony Ink Press, US, and her chapter books for 8 to 12 year olds, Cyclone Christmas and Block City, are published by Sunshine Books, NZ. She is also a published author of short stories, newspaper articles, poetry, and travel articles. She teaches International students at the University of Tasmania in Hobart, Tasmania, Australia.

Social media:

https://veritycroker.wordpress.com/

https://www.facebook.com/veritycrokerwriter/

https://twitter.com/veritycroker?lang=en

Review Tour for Operation Toy Rescue by Sarah Hadley Brook (excerpt and giveaway)

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Length: 29,000 words approx.
 
Publisher: JMS Books
 
Blurb
 

When Jules Evergreen lands in trouble at the North Pole and gets shipped off to Snow Hope Island for ninety days, he never expects to take up the cause of the forgotten toys waiting for new homes. Falling for his new boss is not on the agenda either, but his heart has other ideas.


Felix Winterson has grown up on Snow Hope Island and now runs the place. He isn’t thrilled when party boy Jules arrives, and Felix tries hard to ignore the man’s charms. He has other problems, anyway. For years he’s tried to get Santa to look at the growing inventory of damaged toys in the warehouse, to no avail.


When Jules comes up with a plan to save the toys, the men find themselves working closely together. As Christmas Eve looms, there’s a lot at stake. Can they save Snow Hope, convince Santa to rescue the toys, and fall in love all at the same time?



Dec 15OMG Reads, Dec 17Mikku-chan, The Blogger Girls, Padme’s Library, Dec 19Megan’s Media Melange, Two Chicks Obsessed, Dec 21Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words, MM Good Book Reviews, Dec 24Valerie Ullmer, Bayou Book Junkie, Making It Happen, Drops Of Ink

 

Read Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words Review here.  We loved it!

 
Excerpt



He was surprised that no one else was in the building yet. Unless they were upstairs in the loft, or locked away in an office. He thought he’d seen Eve’s coat hanging from a peg up front.


Jules opened the laptop and logged in, ready to get started. He really wanted to take that trip to the warehouse with Felix and the quicker he finished logging things in, the quicker that could happen. As he carefully opened a rather large box, he heard a door open and turned to see Felix, Eve, and Zuzu hurry out of Felix’s office. All wore a look of panic and his heart jumped.


“What’s wrong?” he asked as Eve grew closer.


“The Big Guy is coming for a visit three days before Christmas! We just found out. He never does this. Never, Jules.” Her voice rose as she spilled the news.


Jules glanced at Felix and caught his eye, holding it for a moment. “Isn’t Santa coming a good thing?” he asked, confused.


“We don’t know. He never does this. Never,” Eve reiterated.


“She’s right. He doesn’t. What if he wants to make major changes? Or move us to the North Pole?” Felix asked.


Jules crinkled his brow. In his mind, moving to the North Pole would be great. Felix would be closer to Jules. “You don’t want to live at the North Pole?”


All three of them looked at him in shock, their mouths gaping open.


“What?” he asked.


“The North Pole is headquarters. It’s chaos,” Zuzu explained.


Okay, I’ll give them that. But there were good things, too.


“But you’d be closer to …” he flicked his gaze to Felix and felt his cheeks heat up. “The main operation,” he finished lamely.


“But we like it here. Our island is beautiful and we’re like a family. What if we’re torn apart?”


“I don’t think Santa –”


“You don’t know, Jules,” Eve broke in. “Maybe he thinks we don’t do enough to help these toys.”


Felix was vigorously nodding his agreement, so Jules shut his mouth and sat down in front of his laptop, considering the possibilities. He finally glanced back up, his lips curving up into a small smile as he eyed all three. “Then I guess there’s only one thing to do, guys. We need to show Santa how important the island is to children all over the globe.”


“How do we do that?” Eve asked quietly, her brow furrowed.


“By developing a kick ass plan to get these ‘inadequate toys’ into the hands of kids,” he explained, using air quotes. It was really just expanding what he and Felix had talked about last night. But calling it a plan made it feel more real. More promising.


Again, they gaped at him. Well, all but Felix. He was grinning. Happiness filled Jules’s chest and his heart raced as he grinned back, warmth spreading through him. Their gazes held and Jules felt like Felix was peering inside of him. Like he was seeing the real Jules. Not the guy that always screwed up. Not the guy that only thought of himself. But the one that finally — finally — wanted to do something worthy. Something that would bring others joy.


“Jules is right. We need to work together to show Santa we can handle the responsibility of taking care of the toys on this island. To prepare them for new homes. To convince him to take them with him on Christmas Eve.” Felix straightened his shoulders as determination flitted across his face and hope flashed in his eyes.


Jules couldn’t look away. The man was beautiful in every way.


Author Bio

Sarah Hadley Brook lives smack-dab in the middle of the Heartland and is the mother of two wonderful young men, as well as two cats. During the day, she works in the nonprofit world, but reserves evenings for her hobby-turned-passion of writing, letting the characters she conjures in her mind take the lead and show her where the story will go. When not working or writing, she can be found reading, working on dollhouses, trying her hand at new recipes, or watching old movies and musicals. In her ideal world, Christmas would come at least twice a year, Rock Hudson and Doris Day would have costarred in more than three movies, and chocolate would be a daily necessity. She dreams of traveling to Scotland some day and visiting the places her ancestors lived. Sarah believes in “Happily Ever After” and strives to ensure her characters find their own happiness in love and life.



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