A Chaos Moondrawn Review: Through the Tears by Leigh M. Lorien

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Rating: 3.75 stars out of 5 

Rafe’s human lover Eamon disappears through a portal to a differnet world after a ghoul attack. Rafe is a low ranking lord and thinks the king will not help so he decides to rescue his lover himself. As Eamon battles the elements and strange culture of the ghoul world with the help of Beah, a native who helps him, Rafe battles ghouls to learn the secret of portals with his second in command Kiran. Larger evil is afoot than just ghouls jumping worlds to eat humans and what started as a horrible accident, leads into a possible war no one saw coming.

Rafe is called a rin, which is basically a vampire. I liked the lore used here. Even though the ideas aren’t radically unique, there are some interesting takes on common science fiction themes: interdimensional travel, feeding on blood/sex/energy, mind linking/control, bonded mates, turning on magic users, religion to control the population, the feudal type of setting, etc. Eamon is strange at first, full of fear and anger, like he can’t take control of himself and needs Rafe to (mentally) control him. I think this was meant to show him as submissive, but I’m not sure I like this characterization. Taking this out of the equation, Eamon is loyal and brave, even when frightened. I loved the flashback of how Rafe and Eamon met. At the beginning Rafe is cold, calm, and collected even after Eamon disappeares; then he seems to miss him slightly, but does go to look for him. By the end the I love yous are completely over the top, so I wish this had been a little more even handed. It would have made their reunion more impactful. Beah is a great trans character who gets treated horribly by his tribe. Be aware they are several depictions of misgendering, humiliation, and dead naming–although the author doesn’t allow the reader to know the dead name, which I appreciated.

This story could be a self contained adventure, but it’s also a larger story arc that will be picked up in the next book. The side characters like Kiren, Orienna, and the King are all intriguing, but there is little to them in this book. Eamon is the fish out of water in this tale. There is a little of Beah being a fish out of water as well, for some nice symmetry. It’s difficult in a first book with all the world-building, so I am hoping the next book works harder at holding/highlighting the emotional moments between the friends and lovers so they don’t get stomped on in all the politics and intrigue. Those are what gives me something to root for–to hope they win and save the day. There are twelve worlds and this book has only shown small parts of two, so there are so many different possibilities for future stories.

The cover art by Natasha Snow shows a desert through what appears to be a grimy window pane, which I take to be the portal between worlds.

Sales Links:

NineStar Press | Amazon | Smashwords | Barnes & Noble | Kobo

Book Details:

ebook
Published July 8th 2019 by NineStar Press
ISBN 139781951057015
Edition Language English

An Alisa Release Day Review: Crossing Nuwa: Escape by Sean Ian O’Meidhir and Connal Braginsky

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Rating:  4 stars out of 5

For sheltered Robbie, one week of freedom leads to sexual awakening and adventure… but when his world intersects with Theo’s, they’ll need all their wits and Theo’s magic to fight for their future.

Rare male weresnake Robbie has had his whole life decided for him down to his meals. But when the time comes for him to perform an unspeakable duty to his clan, he runs.

San Francisco Pride is in full swing when technomage Theo spots a scared-looking young man with brilliant emerald eyes. He’s only looking for a hookup, but before he knows why, he’s taking Robbie home and introducing him to champagne and enchiladas. He doesn’t have any intention of falling in love.

Robbie doesn’t want to return to his clan, at least not without trying to fit a lifetime of experiences into a week, but every day he stays puts Theo in more danger.

This was a very good story.  It started out with Robbie running but we don’t quite know what he is running from until later.  I liked how Theo took Robbie under his wing even when he kept telling himself he wouldn’t get attached they both build a lot of trust in each other quickly.

I hated seeing Robbie forced to do things because he was commanded to and it isn’t something he would fight.  I could feel his hurt and confusion at having to work through the abuse he suffered at the hands of his mother and aunt.  He was lucky that his cousin and other aunt are great people and were able to help him work through everything that he felt he could move forward and live his life.

I didn’t connect with Theo quite as much because he was a bit tight lipped about his life but he grew on me as he continued to support Robbie and even admitting that he does have feelings for him and invited him home.  His grandmother seems like a great person too and wish there would have been a bit more time to get to know her.  I looks forward to reading other books in this series as they come to see how it continues, I don’t know if it will be more Robbie and Theo or if there are other male Nüwa out there.

The cover art by Jay Aheer is nice and I like the multiple visuals that it give but feel that it is very dark and due to that a bit hard to see all the details.

Sales Links: DSP Publications | Amazon | B&N

Book Details:

ebook, 192 pages

Published: July 9, 2019 by DSP Publications

ISBN-13: 978-1-64405-258-7

Edition Language: English

Series: Crossing Nüwa #1

Andrew Grey on his First Gay Romances and his new release Survive and Conquer (guest blog)

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Survive and Conquer by Andrew Grey

Dreamspinner Press
Publication: July 9th 2019

Cover Artist: Kanaxa
Sales Links:

Amazon

Barnes and Noble

Dreamspinner Press

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to host Andrew Grey here today talking about his first gay romances and his new release Survive and Conquer.  Welcome back, Andrew.

✒︎✒︎

I didn’t discover the wonderfulness that is the romance until I was well into my forties. It was some of the early gay romances that inspired me to write and they helped give me the career that I love beyond measure and introduced me to all you amazing readers. I can’t imagine how my life would be without telling my stories or all of you to read them. Frankly you blow me away!!! For this post, I thought I would list a few of those early books which touched my heart well over a decade ago. Some of them are still around and have stood the test of time. If I don;t list the author its because I can;t remember the name, but I remember the story.
A Summer Place – Ariel Tachna
The Tin Star – J L Langley
Spare Parts – Scott and Scott
Adagio – Chris Owen
Caught Running – Urban and Roux
Hunk House
 
There were others, but these are the ones I could remember from the mists of time. I want to wish you a happy journey wherever your reading takes you.

Blurb/Synopsis:

Newton DeSantis was on the ground when the towers collapsed on 9/11. Though he still carries the scars on his body and his heart, he’s determined to ease some of the world’s suffering. Now a social worker and father to two children with special needs, he’s doing his best. But when his son’s health takes a drastic turn, Newton knows he can’t do it alone.

Family law attorney Chase Matthews is a rising star, and he’s in high demand. Still, Newton is very persuasive, and Chase takes his case pro bono. Everything about the other man appeals to Chase, but he’s determined to keep the relationship professional—even though, after meeting Newton’s kids, he wants to be a part of their lives.

Chase’s job doesn’t always allow him to pick his clients, though, and a case that could make him partner will put him on the opposite side of the courtroom from Newton—along with everything he believes in and the future they could build together.

Excerpt

The door to the courtroom opened, and Chase Matthews strode out, looking amazing in a suit that probably cost as much as Newton made in a month. The man had style and knew how to dress, which made him look damn fine, that was for sure.

Newton scrambled off the bench and hobble-ran up to him. “Mr. Matthews.”

Chase stopped, turning around, his electric gaze falling onto Newton, sending a thrill running up his spine. “Can I help you?” he asked in a voice that could melt butter.

“Not me, but one of my clients,” Newton said as he used the cane for balance. “She needs a lawyer, and….”

Chase shook his head. “Oh no. I’ve done my pro bono work for the year, and I have real clients that I need to get to work on.” The eyes that Newton had thought so intense and expressive grew cold, and he suppressed a shiver. “I only took this case because I was required to by Judge Harker.” He turned to walk away, but Newton was pissed off enough that he grabbed his arm. “Now see here—”

“Look. I have a mother with two kids who need help, desperately. She’s trying to keep her children. Her husband, soon to be ex, is in prison for abusing those adorable girls, and now she’s got to fight his parents because they feel their son’s rights aren’t being represented.” Newton didn’t let go, and he did his best to ignore the woodsy cologne that wafted around him.

“I’ve done my part. I have a practice that I need to return to and clients who are paying me to represent them. I can’t just take on another case like that right now. I’m sorry, but I’ve done what I can.” Chase shrugged off Newton’s hand, strode toward the elevator, and pressed the call button. Newton got his bag and made his way over to join Chase as he waited. “God, this is slow.”

“Yes, I know. That gives me plenty of time to try to convince you to change your mind.” Newton flashed a little smile.

“You don’t take no for an answer, do you?” Chase asked, turning back to watch the doors, probably willing them to slide open so he could get away.

“If I did, I wouldn’t be able to help my clients. And these people need help. Angela’s in-laws have money, and they are willing to use it to get their way and do what isn’t in the interest of these girls. They were five and seven when their father abused them.” Newton was laying it on thick, but in his job, often all he had was the human angle, and he was very good at tugging at people’s heartstrings.

The elevator doors slid open, and they stepped inside. Chase pushed the button to go down, and the doors slid closed. Newton knew he had just a few seconds to make his case before Chase made his escape. “You know justice isn’t fair, as much as we hope it can be….”

“Life isn’t fair,” Chase said, then sighed. “I can’t take on any more work right now. My caseload is full and I’m working twelve-hour days as it is.” He shifted his weight.

“And you’re not the only one.” Newton looked down at his old suit and partially rumpled shirt because he hadn’t had enough time to iron it that morning, with breakfast to make, getting the kids off to school… everything.

“I’m sorry.” Chase stepped off the elevator and was about to walk away.

Newton was desperate. “When was the last time you had a home-cooked meal?” It was a Hail Mary shot, but he had to go for it. Guys like Chase ate out or at their desk, and the food they consumed could be pretty crappy. Newton would know, because he did the same thing when he was at work.

Chase stopped and turned around.

“Come over to the house, meet Angela, and then you can decide. I’ll even cook.”

Chase rubbed his temple, and Newton could tell he was trying to make a choice. “I….”

“What have you got to lose, except your taste buds?”

Chase smiled, and Newton knew he had him. He reached into his bag, got a card, and handed it to Chase, who got a card from his pocket and handed it over after writing a number on the back as well.

“I know I’m probably going to regret this,” he said with a half smile.

About the Author

Andrew grew up in western Michigan with a father who loved to tell stories and a mother who loved to read them. Since then he has lived throughout the country and traveled throughout the world. He has a master’s degree from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and works in information systems for a large corporation.

Andrew’s hobbies include collecting antiques, gardening, and leaving his dirty dishes anywhere but in the sink (particularly when writing)  He considers himself blessed with an accepting family, fantastic friends, and the world’s most supportive and loving partner. Andrew currently lives in beautiful, historic Carlisle, Pennsylvania.

Author Links

Amazon Author Page

Barnes and Noble Page

Dreamspinner Press

Facebook

Facebook Group All the Way with Andrew Grey

Goodreads

Twitter @andrewgreybooks

Website

For Other Works by Andrew Grey

(Please Be Sure To Stop by His Website to See All of His Works)

Looking for Your Next Contemporary Romance? Check Out the New Release Blitz for Purple Method by Victoria Milne (excerpt and giveaway)

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Length: 84,500 words 
 
Cover Design: Garrett Leigh @ Black Jazz Design
 
 
Blurb
 

An up-and-coming heavy metal singer and a martial artist desperate to join a top MMA gym must decide how hard they’re willing to fight—for their dreams and each other.


Max Diaz is firmly in the closet, and as unbearable as that’s becoming, he can’t risk his only remaining family—his brother, Tony—or his band Purple Method’s chance to make it big.


Rick Bernstein dreams of rising in the ranks of the MMA circuit and securing a training career at a top gym, but with rejections coming thick and fast and his financial future in dire jeopardy, starting a relationship is the last thing on his mind—especially with someone who isn’t out.


But when Purple Method returns to Elfinbrook after a six-month tour, one kiss changes everything. Now Max and Rick face decisions that will change both of their lives forever.

 
Excerpt



Max Diaz’s legs were trembling so hard, he was amazed they were still holding him up. As he waited at the edge of the stage, hidden out of sight, his throat grew tight, and he dreaded the moment he’d be expected to perform. He didn’t think he could speak right now, let alone sing the complicated vocals.


After years of Max pleading with his brother to let him join the band, Tony had finally relented. He suspected Tony had done it to ease the blow of their dad leaving them. It was just the two of them against the rest of the world.


But that didn’t change the fact that Max was now the lead singer of an actual band. He still couldn’t believe it. Couldn’t believe they’d trusted him with the responsibility of fronting them when they were all so talented.


The venue was small, but right now, the stage looked huge. There had to be at least twenty people watching them. Twenty people who would witness his epic failure if he didn’t pull his shit together.


Tony, Lee, and Kyle—his bandmates—were preparing the equipment, like Max had seen them do countless times before when he’d been to their gigs. Next time he’d help out, but right now he wasn’t complaining that they were leaving him alone. Kyle was testing the microphones, Tony was moving one of the drums, and Lee was tuning his bass guitar. It wouldn’t be long now.


Max’s legs were numb as the trembling crept through his body all the way to his fingertips, and his head swam as queasiness threatened.


“Max, breathe,” Tony said.


Opening his eyes, Max gasped a breath and tried to focus on his brother.


“You’ve got this.”


“But what if I don’t—”


“You do. Just pretend we’re back home in the garage. You’re ready. Do you think I’d let you onstage with us if you weren’t?”


Max scrubbed his hands over his eyes. That was true. “But what if I let you down? What if I screw up?”


Pulling him into a hug, Tony said, “Focus on the music and you’ll be fine. If you’re thinking about screwing up, then you will. Don’t think about that.”


“Ready?” Lee asked.


Tony patted Max on the back and released him.


“Yeah. Let’s do this,” Max said, and prayed Tony was right.


While the others took their places onstage, Max turned his thoughts to their chaotic band practices. Was it helping? He wasn’t sure. If anything, he was more nervous.


Oh God. The queasiness worsened, and Max knew he couldn’t hold it in this time. He made a dash for the restrooms out back, barely making it in time. When he returned to the stage, Tony and Lee were playing the intro on loop, and all three of them were glaring at him.


Max grabbed the microphone and gripped it as hard as he could, terrified it would slip through his fingers as he stepped onto the stage. He closed his eyes and focused on Tony’s deafening drumbeat, and then on Lee’s bass guitar, the deep notes thundering through his body, dissipating the tingling in his limbs. By the time Kyle’s guitar joined the mix, Max’s nerves were giving way—transforming into the familiar charged excitement music always brought him.


Bringing the microphone to his lips and taking a deep breath, Max opened his eyes. Their audience looked interested, but they weren’t leaping about yet. As Max sang the first lines of “Scream My Name,” a couple of people whistled and nodded their approval.


He could do this. He totally could. And if he had the chance to perform like this for the rest of his life, he’d die happy.


Grinning, Max raised his arms in the air, and he swore that by the end of their set he’d have them all screaming for Purple Method.

Victoria Milne discovered fiction writing relatively late in life, back in 2012, and has loved every second of the journey. Her belief that life is one big adventure to be experienced to the max has stood her in good stead, but it has resulted in rather a lot of plot bunnies that don’t give her a minute’s peace!


A firm believer that consensual love should come without labels and without prejudice, these themes often appear in her stories, as do Victoria’s passions for martial arts, cooking, yoga, and loud music. It was no surprise when these subjects began to resonate in her writing, frequently taking center stage, and rather than fighting it she’s learned to accept and enjoy that these will always be indispensable elements in her work.


Although Victoria appreciates that stories don’t always have to have happy endings, hers always do—because everybody deserves to find their true love(s).


In 2016, Love Unlocked—the anthology in which her story “Writer’s Lock” was published—was a Rainbow Award finalist. The experience fueled her desire to learn as much about the mechanics of writing as she could. In 2017 Victoria completed her training with the Society for Editors and Proofreaders and became a full-time freelance editor. Victoria has always loved reading, and still can’t quite believe she’s been lucky enough to not only create books of her own but also help other writers perfect theirs too!


Website: www.purplemethod.net
Facebook: fb.me/victoriamilneauthor
Twitter: @victoria_milne_

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Looking for Your Next Urban Fantasy? Check Out the Release Blitz for Crossing Nuwa: Escape by Sean Ian O’Meidhir and Connal Braginsky (excerpt)

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Escape Tour Banner

Crossing Nuwa: Escape

Sean Ian O’Meidhir & Connal Braginsky

MM Urban Fantasy, Paranormal / Rescue, Innocence/Discovery, First Love

Release Date: 07.09.19

Nuwa Cover

Cover Designer – Jay Aheer https://www.simplydefinedart.com

Blurb

For sheltered Robbie, one week of freedom leads to sexual awakening and adventure… but when his world intersects with Theo’s, they’ll need all their wits and Theo’s magic to fight for their future.

Rare male weresnake Robbie has had his whole life decided for him down to his meals. But when the time comes for him to perform an unspeakable duty to his clan, he runs.

San Francisco Pride is in full swing when technomage Theo spots a scared-looking young man with brilliant emerald eyes. He’s only looking for a hookup, but before he knows why, he’s taking Robbie home and introducing him to champagne and enchiladas. He doesn’t have any intention of falling in love.

Robbie doesn’t want to return to his clan, at least not without trying to fit a lifetime of experiences into a week, but every day he stays puts Theo in more danger.

Crossing NuwaEscape Teaser 2

Crossing NuwaEscape Teaser 1

Excerpt

IT STARTED in the shower. Well, okay, my story didn’t actually start in the shower, but the part where I fell for Theo did. I look back now and realize how very naïve I was, but it doesn’t matter. I would have fallen for him anyway.

I’ll get to the shower in a minute…. Maybe it’s important to explain how I got to the shower. It’s still something that’s hard for me to believe….

 

I

BREATHE. JUST breathe. Well past midnight, I sat on the edge of my bed—fully dressed. If I do this and they catch me they might kill me. But… how can I not? I can’t stay. I can’t do what they want…. Every time I thought about it, my stomach began to churn, and I felt light-headed. What other options were there?

“Come on,” I whispered, then laughed. Talking to myself? That’s what this had come to?

I stood on wobbly knees and opened my large walk-in closet. Over the last month I had been stowing things I would need in a backpack I hadn’t used since I was thirteen. An extra pair of pants, four shirts, seven pairs of underwear, seven pairs of socks, three half-full deodorants (having convinced Mrs. Matlock, our housekeeper, that I just go through them quickly), and two half-tubes of toothpaste earned with the same deception that caused spikes of guilt when I thought about it. No one had noticed these things slowly going missing, or if they had they didn’t say anything.

I stared at the backpack for a ridiculous amount of time. This is a bad idea. They’re going to kill me….

I snatched the backpack before I could think about anything else, rushed to the bathroom where I grabbed my electric razor and toothbrush and shoved them in. I slipped my e-reader from the bedside table into the front of my pack and surveyed the room. My room since I was born. My prison….

Of what few things were there, I could see no reason to take anything else. Opening the door slowly, I peeked out into the darkened hall. Shifting my eyes to my serpent’s, I double-checked the hall and sighed with relief that there were no heat signatures that would suggest anyone lurking. Except me. I was the only one who stayed in my wing unless there were guests, so the bath and two other bedrooms in the wing were usually empty.

What was I going to say if they found me? I rolled my eyes at myself. What could I say? “Yes, Mother, just out for an evening run. Oh, the backpack? Well, you know how smelly I can get, just thought I’d bring a change of clothes, or seven.” I snorted at the absurdity of the situation, and then at the fact that I had been hovering in my doorway for over a minute. A little voice in my head started the mantra, “Just go, go, go.”

I nodded and hurried out the door, down the hall, down the stairs, and paused.

The house was silent. Of course it was; no one was awake at this hour.

Food. What was I going to do for food? Good thinking…. I tiptoed around the corner and through the formal dining room, which led into the kitchen. Ms. Matlock retired to her cottage at 9:00 p.m. sharp every night. She did not return to the main house until 6:00 a.m. every morning, and Mother and Aunt Edna never came into the kitchen. Except for after midnight when there’s someone rummaging around in there, I chastised myself and worked harder to be quiet.

I held my breath and listened again.

Nothing.

I grabbed three pieces of fruit from the large bowl at the end of the counter. If I take more, they’ll notice. Heck, they’ll notice I’m gone at 7:00 a.m. when I’m not down here for breakfast, so what will it matter if they notice more fruit is gone? I groaned and stuffed four more apples into my bag. The rest of the food in the house wasn’t prepared into meals, and I didn’t know how to cook. The thought came to mind of trying to teach myself how to cook one of Mrs. Matlock’s meat loaves so I could take it with me. But the smell would probably carry, and how long did it take to cook a meat loaf? What about salad? I could probably put together a salad… but how would I carry it?

I was stalling. This was stalling. I shook my head and hurried back through the dining room toward the front door and stopped. Mother’s purse. She stored it in the entryway cupboard, but today it was sitting on the counter. I stopped breathing. Taking small gasps of air, I stood still.

She was behind me. I could feel her. Her eyes boring into the back of my skull. Her breath tickling my ear.

I whipped around to find the hall empty and shuddered with relief. A visceral thing.

Gasping for breath, I bent over and rested my hands on my knees. I’m going to vomit. Deep breath. In through the nose.

When I could focus and my stomach had stopped churning, I looked at the purse again. Why was her purse out? Did she often leave it out? I didn’t know. I glanced inside. What was I doing? I had already stolen food from the house. Was I really thinking about doing this? This was wrong… but then, leaving was wrong.

With trembling fingers I separated the leather. Her wallet sat right on top. I can’t…. The magnetic clasp easily parted, and inside I found several bills. I’d need money.

Not giving myself any more time to think, I grabbed all the bills and stuffed them in my pocket before shoving the wallet back into the purse and stepping away.

I felt dirty.

Don’t think. Go. Go, go, go! I passed by the coat closet and paused. It was autumn…. I pulled out a coat that Mrs. Matlock had purchased for me. Something I’d never worn because I didn’t go out, but that she had made sure was available and in my size if I ever needed it. I pushed it into the pack and secured the zipper before hoisting it over both shoulders.

L Blue Moon 3 Dreamer's Workshop

ABOUT THE AUTHORS

Sean is a shrink who by day spends time in jails and prisons (evaluating criminals) and by night writes romantic fiction. Sean and partner live in San Francisco ruled by their three cats and can often be found trying new restaurants. With the understanding that they live in Heaven, Sean adores spending time sitting near the water with a laptop in hand, gazing at the bay and making daydreams a reality for others to enjoy. To read more about Sean’s adventures, please visit www.dreamersworkshop.com.

Connal Braginsky is a tech nerd that has taken a leap of faith and took a chance on writing. Born to Russian immigrants, he came out as gay at 19, and was recently diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (Asperger’s Syndrome).

He loves to read, and learn about Technology, Esoteric subjects and considers himself a transhumanist (the Russian Cosmism variety). His other pastimes revolve around philosophy which includes Panpsychism, Process Philosophy, Taoism, Buddhism and Gnosticism. He is also interested in various scientific fields, including Quantum Physics, Quantum Biology, Neurology, Psychology, and Sociology.

Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/SeanOMeidhir/

Facebook group https://www.facebook.com/groups/439462953480874/?ref=share

Website http://www.dreamersworkshop.com/

Goodreads https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/19211564.Sean_Ian_O_Meidhir

Twitter https://twitter.com/SeanIanOMeidhir

Newsletter http://www.dreamersworkshop.com/newsletter/

Connal’s Blog: http://dreamersrefuge.com/blog/

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