A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: Salt Magic Skin Magic by Lee Welch

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

Good heavens, this was outstanding! I’m shocked that a new author could produce such an in-depth, riveting, complex, historical drama like this. Every single page was better than the one before it.

The characters were complex and their relationship understated enough that it was woven into the fabric of the story but was not the most important part of this epic tale.

Soren, Lord Thornby, has been trapped on his father’s isolated country estate. No matter what he tries, he can’t seem to get beyond the boundaries. Dragged there from London with only the clothes on his back, he can’t figure out why his father has him all but chained in. In fact, it’s very odd that his entrapment isn’t physical—it’s more mental in that he forgets why he wants to leave once he’s at the border.

When John Blake, an industrial magician, arrives to investigate a claim of witchcraft, he finds much more. It appears that some dark evil force is driving Sir Dalton, Soren’s father, and it’s so unique that even John can’t tap into the source. All he knows is that Thornby is in very grave danger, and when he takes it upon himself to drag Thornby over the border, the results are disastrous and they must return without delay.

The men become involved in a story of intrigue that dates back to a time before Soren was born, to the moment his father met his mother in the North. There’s magic in the air and in order for the men, who find themselves attracted to one another, to solve the mystery, they may need to risk both their lives.

There’s no way to adequately describe this story except to say that the author has created an exceptional tale—very reminiscent of the work of KJ Charles—and this one is most definitely going to be nominated as my favorite debut of 2018. There’s so much here that I feel privileged to have had the opportunity to read it for review. Honestly, I can’t even begin to find words to encourage everyone to immediately get to the bookstore or hit that one-click button. This is simply not to be missed.

~~~

The drawn cover features all the key elements to this story: the handsome lord, the magician who saves him, the sigil, the pelt, and the ocean. Very bright and attractive, it’s perfect for this book.

Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK

Book details:

ebook, 241 pages
Published August 9th 2018 by Lee Welch
ISBN139780473444518
Edition Language English

Cover Reveal for Calculated Magic by SJD Peterson

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Calculated Magic by SJD Peterson
Release Date: October 16, 2018

Cover Artist: Alexandria Corza, http://www.seeingstatic.com/

Buy Links:  Dreamspinner Press eBook and  Paperback  

About Calculated Magic...

 

Never too late for love.

 

Three-hundred-and-fifty-year-old warlock Tikron must find his true love or forfeit his immortality. But if he hasn’t found his ideal mate in all these centuries, the prospects don’t look too bright.

 

That is, until he sees mathematician Richard Beaumont. It’s love at first sight and Tikron’s future just got a whole lot brighter.

 

Except Richard doesn’t believe in love at first sight. He doesn’t believe in love at all. He certainly doesn’t believe in magic. His life is ruled by statistics and logic, and they tell him a relationship with Tikron has only a 10 percent chance of success. That’s unacceptable—even if the attraction between them is off the charts.

 

With his powers waning and the clock ticking down, Tikron’s last hope is showing Richard the true meaning of magic.

 

Category: Other Paranormal, Dreamspun Beyond
Pages: 225 (ebook), 230 (paperback)

About the Author

 

SJD Peterson, better known as Jo, is an Amazon bestselling and award winning author of gay romance. Her books have received starred reviews in USA Today.

 

Jo currently lives in Greenville, South Carolina, having had enough of the Michigan winters to last her a lifetime. She has no idea where she’ll end up next but wherever she goes, it will be snow and ice-free.

 

If you want to know more about Jo or when her next book will come out, please visit her website at http://www.sjdpeterson.com.

 

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/SJD.Peterson

Twitter: @SJDPeterson

Email: sjdpeterson@gmail.com

 

Liv Olteano with a Character Q & A and more for Star-Crossed Lover (excerpt and giveaway)

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Star-Crossed Lover (Dreamcatchers #2) by Liv Olteano
Dreamspinner Press
Cover Art: Aaron Anderson

Buy Links:  Dreamspinner Press eBook and  Paperback |  Amazon | Barnes & Noble 

Goodreads Link

 

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to host Liv Olteano here today on tour for her new release Star-crossed Lover. Liv has a   Q & A with Taka, a wonderful excerpt and a giveaway for all to enter.  Welcome, Liv.

 

Q&A with Taka from Star-crossed Lover by Liv Olteano

Interviewer: Is it fair to say that you’re pretty old?

Taka: *glares* No. “Pretty experienced” would be fair.

Interviewer: *clears throat* Right. Of course. Sorry about that. So you’ve been around for a while.

Taka: Since World War II, in fact. Yes.

Interviewer: How do you think the world has changed since then?

Taka: Oh, how hasn’t it changed? I suppose there are the woes of modern life, like speeding up everything – whether it’s suited for speed or not –, avoidance of human contact via social networks, access to unlimited information with lesser and lesser interest in actually getting informed and properly study a topic. You can always find things that are wrong with people and society by and large, in any time and place.

But I like to focus on the positive side. Technology has evolved in a staggering pace. For someone like me, who’s been around during this whole process of development, it’s almost miraculous in fact. Science has made giant leaps. Any kind of progress demands sacrifice.

Interviewer: What’s your favorite part of the world as it is today?

Taka: Oh, that’s an easy answer: technology in all its forms. I love my laptop, smart phone, tablet – all of it. And Ginger. He’s definitely among my top 5 things about the world today. *grins*

Ginger elbows him in the ribs. “So I’m not your no.1 fav? We’ll have words, you and I.”

Interviewer: I hope I’m not creating any tension between you guys!

Taka: Nothing can create tension between us, unless it’s sexual tension.

Interviewer: Well! I think that about wraps it up for us today.

Taka: *chuckles and leaves, taking Ginger by the hand*

Interviewer: “I strongly suspect I’ve just been played to end this earlier than agreed upon.”

Blurb:

A love worth crossing the stars for.

Taka has been a dreamcatcher and part of Team 32 for over six decades, but nobody has tempted him like Ginger—a dancer at club Zee. Too bad dreamcatchers aren’t allowed to have meaningful relationships with regular people. His willpower proves a finite resource, though, when a mission at the club means spending much more time around Ginger.

Ginger’s infatuation with Taka is unwavering. When he proves to have some paranormal skills of his own, he earns himself a place on the team—if he wants it. His decision will change his life—not to mention Taka’s—irrevocably.

But living in the now could prove an issue for a man who has as much history as Taka. Can Ginger’s determination help him make his way into Taka’s heart?

 

Excerpt

“It was broad daylight when I walked into club Zee, but as soon as I got inside, darkness embraced me.

It was rehearsal time for many of the dancers, and the bar was open. During the day you could go in, have your drinks, and watch some rehearsals—all without an entrance fee. Dancers didn’t wear their flamboyant outfits for rehearsal, though since some of them wore considerably less clothing, one might say it was an even better sight. The single- and two-dancer-wide mini stages sprinkled all through the tall and semidark room were black, and so were the floors. Laser lights glided down the dancers’ bodies at night. During rehearsal they had modest colorful lights moving about now and then. There was something more playful than sensual about the mood during the day, and I liked that better.

I also rarely had the time to stop by during the night, considering my “working hours” as a dreamcatcher. Hunting spaga—our enemies—was a nighttime job, since they attacked people in their sleep to steal away their life force and induce nightmares in the process. Our fierce spirit guide Asibikaashi—the Spider Woman and Spirit Mother we lovingly called Aashi for short—asked we be ready to go out on mission from about ten in the evening to close to sunup. Having a curfew after more than six decades of service might have seemed embarrassing, but since I was a long-lived man that looked barely a day older than forty, I kept my ego in check. Some embarrassments you got used to. Like living with my teammates: Claw, our team leader and the oldest dreamcatcher I knew personally; Drew, the annoying one of our two new team members and the muscle of our team; and Drew’s mate and strangely all-around nice guy, Angelo. We were Team 32, operating in the Queen Anne area of Seattle. Regular people couldn’t know about us, or it would make them likelier targets for the spaga. Hanging around people made them likelier targets too. It was best for everyone for us to keep as much distance as we could. But visiting club Zee was a habit I couldn’t shake. In my mind, I made up for it by casting spider magic–fueled protections on the club and people here. As I knew pretty well after all my years of dreamcatcher service, there was no such thing as a perfect shield or protection against the spaga. The reason they chose sleepers as targets was that they were more vulnerable then, but there was no such thing as impenetrable security regardless of circumstances.

Club Zee was pretty popular during the day, and more so at night. Though at night there was pulsing, throbbing, bang-your-brains-out music, during the day the DJ played a different kind of tune. The soft notes of a rock ballad poured out from the speakers, giving the dancers who were practicing a sort of languorousness to their movements. The slower pace made every muscle of their bodies stand out as they moved.

My gaze sought him out before I could stop it. He was never hard to spot. His russet hair, coupled with the soft glow of the spotlight aimed at him, made the sweat on his body look like honey dripping down the corded sinew. For some inexplicable reason, he whipped his head around as if my stare had poked him in the ribs. His gaze shot to mine over the floor, locating me with laser-like precision despite the light and dark effects in the club. I could see the corner of his lips tilting up slowly. It was a lazy, provocative grin that spoke of satisfaction at the attention I couldn’t stop giving him each time I stopped by. He tilted his chin ever so slightly upward and moved his hips with the kind of smoothness that only a serpent should possess. No creature with bones in their body should be able to wiggle like that. This guy would be the death of me, I was pretty sure.

It took a considerable conscious effort to look at anything but him. A fan of self-discipline, I put in that effort and looked away.

I could sense Ginger’s gaze following me as I moved across the floor. I felt it like sticky, warm fingers constantly rubbing over my skin. No matter how long he’d practice from this point on, I knew his gaze would be aimed at me. His focus was a missile that ignited my awareness and arousal, even from this far away. My loins throbbed almost painfully.

If I were a poet or a bard, I might write poems and songs about all the things that simply laying eyes on him did to me. But though I appreciated poetry and music, Ginger’s effect on me had to be kept a secret—from him, first and foremost. In the little hours of morning, after a mission was done but before sleep would take over, I could lie in my bed and contemplate at leisure the sea of desire for and thoughts of him that I nearly drowned in every day; I could examine how that sea eroded away my will to not have him, and how my longing for him grew deeper and more tormenting with each grain of sand lost. Wave after wave of fantasies tormented me. Dreams of what could be but wouldn’t almost pulled me under. If anything, seeing him helped me keep my head on straight—while I was in his presence, that was. As soon as I was without it, I felt adrift in dark waters, shaken by cruel and relentless storms. ”

Want to read more from Chapter 1? Check out the book on the Dreamspinner Press site (Link: https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/star-crossed-lover-by-liv-olteano-9740-b ) and hit the Read an Excerpt button right beneath the cover xD

 

About Liv Olteano:

Liv Olteano is a voracious reader, music lover, and coffee addict extraordinaire. And occasional geek. Okay, more than occasional.

She believes stories are the best kind of magic there is. And life would be horrible without magic. Her hobbies include losing herself in the minds and souls of characters, giving up countless nights of sleep to get to know said characters, and trying to introduce them to the world. Sometimes they appreciate her efforts. The process would probably go quicker if they’d bring her a cup of coffee now and then when stopping by. Characters—what can you do, right?

Liv has a penchant for quirky stories and is a reverent lover of diversity. She can be found loitering around the Internet at odd hours and being generally awkward and goofy at all times.

Links:

http://liv.liviaolteano.com

http://blog.liviaolteano.com/

https://twitter.com/LiviaOlteano

https://www.facebook.com/LiviaOlteano

http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6952513.Liv_Olteano

Newsletter: http://eepurl.com/zZ7T9

Giveaway

Rafflecopter Giveaway:  Must be 18 years of age or older to enter.

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http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/e2bdd0b019/?

We Missed National Book Day? This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

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This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Apparently we here (well, me, haven’t talked to the others) missed National Book Day which was 2 or 3 days ago. Mea Culpa!  Of course, every day here at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is book day but I like to think we help to celebrate books every chance we get!  So I went looking for the actual information and found out lots about book celebrations throughout the year and  all over the world.  Pretty cool stuff actually.

And of course, thought you all should know about it.  So here it is.  And it helps me to remember that September is National Literacy Month.  We normally see Charity Anthologies appear to help support LGBTQIA youth in need during that month. LGBTQIA shelters, local PFLAG Youth YA libraries (yep, they exist), and so much more.  September will be here before you know it. So if you have any local shelters (addresses etc) to contribute, please send them in.  We keep a list going.

Book Day Celebrations – Days-Weeks and Months! These are the approximate dates as they can change every year:)

  • World Book Days by country
  • January is National Book Month
  • Third full week in January is National Book Week
  • Last full week in January is Celebrity Read a Book Week
  • February 23 – Printed Book Day
  • March 2 – Unesco World Book Day
  • March 2 – UK World Book Day
  • March 28 – Children’s Picture Book Day
  • April 2 – International Children’s Book Day
  • April 16 – Book-of-the-Month Club Birthday
  • April 23 – World Book Days by country
  • April 3 through May 6 – Children’s Book Week
  • June is AudioBook Month
  • September is National Literacy Month
  • September is when the annual 2 day National Book Festival is held
  • American Library Association (ALA) Banned Book Week is the last week of September
  • October is National Book Month per National Book Foundation
  • October is National Information Literacy Awareness Month
  • First full week in October is Great Books Week
  • December is Read a New Book Month

Saturday things Redux!

We sent out a call for reviewers.  Check out the post here.  And then contact either Stella or myself about reviewing for us. If you love books, this is the place to be!

Review Redux!  I reviewed Forged in Flood by Dahlia Donovan on Saturday.  I think it’s her finest story yet.  And it’s a tough one to read on many levels.  Three men, a triad, lost everything, when they drove drunk after graduating from university.  That subject matter alone will get people.  It cost them their future in rugby due to disabilities, and each other due to a deep abiding guilt, shame, rage, and more.  This is the story back to each other.  Just amazing.  Did I say it was only 130 pagesI have to agree that there seems to be a lot of diversity in this day and age than there was maybe five, ten, or fifteen years ago. There’s a lot of gay couples surfacing on tv dramas these days and in books asexual, pansexual, demisexual individuals are being written in as main characters and have their own stories whereas a several years ago those terms weren’t present in m/m fiction (well none of the fiction I read). Even in the media there are celebrities who are coming out as gay, pansexual, bi, etc.

Representation and Romance Stories.

We’ve been talking about the increasing LGBTQIA representation in fiction and here are some of the comments from two of our readers:

H.B. “I have to agree that there seems to be a lot of diversity in this day and age than there was maybe five, ten, or fifteen years ago. There’s a lot of gay couples surfacing on tv dramas these days and in books asexual, pansexual, demisexual individuals are being written in as main characters and have their own stories whereas a several years ago those terms weren’t present in m/m fiction (well none of the fiction I read). Even in the media there are celebrities who are coming out as gay, pansexual, bi, etc.”

Ami: “As an asexual and aromantic reader, it warms my heart that ACE/ARO have started to be represented in romantic fiction.

Having said that, I still feel that it is mostly focused ONLY in the LGBTQIA books or genre. In my own opinion, it’s not enough. Yes, ACE falls in the queer spectrum, but there are a number of ACE who also identify themselves as heteroromantic asexuals. I guess until I see more ace representatives in MF romance, not just Queer romance, I still think there’s room of improvements.

Lately, I see more “diversity” in mainstream romance more focused on race — meaning representing non-White people. I think it’ll be nice to see more MF romance with trans* as well, or heteroromantic pansexual, or even bisexual in MF romance.”

 

I agree with you both.  I want to see diversity as the norm, not as something we need to point at as a goal.  Or even to the point its past mentioning.  Wouldn’t that  be lovely?

Alas and alac…I can’t even get through an audiobook where someone states things like “acting like a teenage girl”.  Really?  Maybe teenagers, yes.  But   can’t we at least bury the sexist phrases?  I’m so done with stuff like that. “Maning up” “Acting like a girl”….all the poisonous ways we demean the sexes, divide the genders.  So maybe we still have a long way to go in a lot of ways.  But I will take whatever forward motion however miniscule.  Positivity!

Sigh.

Now to this  week at the blog.

This Week At Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Sunday, August 12:

  • This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words
  • We Missed National Book Day?

Monday, August 13:

  • DSP Cover Reveal Gateway to Love by Sarah Hadley Brooke
  • DSP Dreamspun Promo Liv Olteano
  • Release Blitz – Michelle Woody’s Merrick The Art Thief
  • Release Day Blitz To See the Sun by Kelly Jensen
  • An Alisa Review An Arranged Mating by Jane Wallace-Knight
  • A MelanieM Audiobook Review: Love in Spades (Four Kings Security #1) by Charlie Cochet and  Greg Boudreaux (Narrator)
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Audiobook Review: A Courageous Ride (The Bullriders#3) by Andrew Grey and John Solo (Narrator)

Tuesday, August 14:

  • DSP Cover Reveal Calculated Magic by SJD Peterson
  • Release Blitz – Sky Full Of Mysteries – Rick R Reed
  • Release Blitz – Bitten By Her (Regent’s Park Pack #4.5) – Annabelle Jacobs
  • An Alisa Review:Exercising Restraint (Different Dynamics #2) by Tamir Drake
  • A VVivacious Review : Sky Full Of Mysteries by Rick R Reed
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Release Day Review: Super for You Bad for Me by Asta Idonea

Wednesday, August 15:

  • Something About Us by Riley Hart Release Blitz
  • Series Review Tour for Revving It Up Series by W.S. Long
  • Review Tour – Goal Line (Harrisburg Railers #6) by RJ Scott & V.L. Locey
  • Release Blitz –  Boyfriend Or Bust by Claire Castle
  • A MelanieM Review: Goal Line (Harrisburg Railers #6) by RJ Scott & V.L. Locey
  • An Ali  Review: To See the Sun by Kelly Jensen
  • A MelanieM Review: Gifts Given (Boystown #10) by Marshall Thornton

Thursday, August 16:

  • In the Spotlight Tour and Giveaway: To See The Sun by Kelly Jensen
  • DSP Publications Promo Jayne Lockwood
  • Promo Jackie North on Shoulder Season (World of Love)
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: Salt Magic Skin Magic by Lee Welch
  • A Lucy Audiobook Review: Love You so Hard (Love You So Stories #1) by Tara Lain and Narrator: Ry Forest / Stephen Kurpis (Vitruvian Sound)
  • A MelanieM Review:  Shotgun Bastards and Other Stories by Andrea Speed

Friday, August 17:

  • DSP Promo Sean Michael
  • DSP Promo Charley Descoteaux
  • Blog Tour Don’t Let Go by Andrew Grey
  • An Alisa Release Day Review: Tempt Me by Remmy Duchene
  • A Lucy Review: Challenging Chance (Love Letters #3) by Anyta Sunday

Saturday, August 18:

  • Blog Tour for Euphoria by Jayne Lockwood
  • A MelanieM Review: Euphoria by Jayne Lockwood

—— Reviewers Wanted——

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—— Reviewers Wanted——

 

 

Love to read?  Want to share your opinion with other readers on the stories you’ve read?  Find a new author you absolutely adore?  These are the things we want our reviewers to share with our readers….

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is looking for a few reviewers to join our happy international family of reviewers and wonder if it could be you!  All genres. all book formats, audio and ebook, and all parts of the  Rainbow spectrum….we want you.

Never reviewed before?  Look at one of our reviews  to see the format we use.  It’s also written up under Rating Scale and Review Info.  Send us a sample of a review of a book you’ve recently read to scatteredthoughtsandroguewords@gmail.com

Review as little or as much as your schedule allows. We are flexible.  Contact Melanie or Stella at the email address above.

We are happy to answer your questions!

A Free Dreamer Review: Salt Magic, Skin Magic by Lee Welch

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

Lord Thornby has been trapped on his father’s isolated Yorkshire estate for a year. There are no bars or chains; he simply can’t leave. His sanity is starting to fray. When industrial magician John Blake arrives to investigate a case of witchcraft, he finds the peculiar, arrogant Thornby as alarming as he is attractive. John soon finds himself caught up in a dark fairytale, where all the rules of magic—and love—are changed.

To set Thornby free, both men must face life-changing truths—and John must accept that the brave, witty man who’s winning his heart may also be about to break it. Can they escape a web of magic that’s as perilous as love?

While I’m not big on normal historical fiction, I absolutely love historical fantasy and Salt Magic, Skin Magic had me sold at “dark fairytale”. I had high expectations and was not disappointed.

The setting as such is quite unique. I’ve read lots and lots of fantasy of all sorts, but never before have I come across a combination of all the elements Lee Welch came up with. I loved how magic was such a normal part of life and yet still remained somewhat mysterious. There was just the right amount of world-building and I really enjoyed the whole set-up.

Both Thornby and Blake were immediately likable. They come from very different backgrounds and it was very interesting to watch them overcome those differences. There’s a huge gulf between nobility and working class, even if Blake has some rather important friends.

I liked the minor characters as well. Thornby’s aunt seemed like a fascinating woman and I’d have loved to find out more about her.

The attraction between Thornby and Blake has a delightful air of forbidden romance. Lots of sneaking about and avoiding discovery had me constantly on my toes. It gave the love story a certain amount of suspense that I liked very much. The romance unfolds slowly and is anything but rushed. I loved how these two gentlemen get all rough and dirty with each other.

The ending was completely unexpected. Of course I had my theories as to why Thornby couldn’t leave his father’s grounds, but I certainly did not expect that. There were no easy solutions to be had and I was quite satisfied with what the author came up with.

Long story short, “Salt Magic, Skin Magic” is brilliant. It’s highly unique and extremely well written. If you’re a fan of unusual fantasy with gentlemanly lovers, I’m sure you’ll love this book.

I really, really hope Lee Welch will write more fantasy. She clearly has a talent for it. It’s so hard to find really well written fantasy with a well written love story, where neither takes away from the other.

The cover is quite the eye catcher and really fits the story.

Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK

Book details:

ebook, 241 pages
Published August 9th 2018 by Lee Welch
ISBN139780473444518
Edition Language English

Release Blitz — Salt Magic, Skin Magic by Lee Welch (excerpt and giveaway)

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Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK
 
Length: 78,000 words approx.
 
Blurb
 

Lord Thornby has been trapped on his father’s isolated Yorkshire estate for a year. There are no bars or chains; he simply can’t leave. His sanity is starting to fray.


When industrial magician John Blake arrives to investigate a case of witchcraft, he finds the peculiar, arrogant Thornby as alarming as he is attractive. John soon finds himself caught up in a dark fairytale, where all the rules of magic—and love—are changed.


To set Thornby free, both men must face life-changing truths—and John must accept that the brave, witty man who’s winning his heart may also be about to break it. Can they escape a web of magic that’s as perilous as love?


***


“Magic, folklore, dark deeds, and hot romance combine in this wildly enjoyable, inventive story set in a lovely alt-Victorian Gothic world. More please!”


—KJ Charles, RITA™-nominated author of THE MAGPIE LORD and SPECTRED ISLE


“Salt Magic, Skin Magic by Lee Welch is the sort of book you want to read again the moment you reach the end. Beautifully written, with a romance that is by turns sweet and scorching, it belongs on the keeper shelf of any lover of paranormal historical.”


—Jordan L. Hawk, author of the WHYBORNE AND GRIFFIN and HEXWORLD series

 
Excerpt
 

Thornby was walking along the moorland path, calm as you please, nose in the air, apparently admiring the autumn colours in the distant oaks in the park.


“Stop, Lord Thornby! I want to talk to you.”


Thornby walked faster, slight limp becoming more pronounced.


“Stop, I say!”


John felt in his pockets for his vials and pouches, then changed his mind and simply put on speed. He’d come to this remote part of the grounds in the hope of a rest. He’d not slept much last night with the walls of Raskelf muttering and whispering, and the antiquities from Egypt shrieking muffled curses from the other side of the corridor.


The thought of Thornby had kept him awake as well; so resistant to the Judas Voice—that had given John an unpleasant moment—and so unapproachable, with that aristocratic hauteur you could never breach. And so strange. Why did the man wear such peculiar clothes? Today it was tight black pantaloons and a high stock that would have been fashionable forty years ago. And over this bizarre Regency costume was a rusty black greatcoat with wide cuffs, and a tricorn hat that would have looked well in the previous century.


And, yes, Thornby was handsome—heart-stoppingly so—with arrogant grey eyes, a mane of brown hair that almost reached his collar, and a preposterous red mouth. He was tall and thin and carried himself like a fencer. There was, too, something whip-taut about him, some unbearable tension that made you feel he might lash out. Or suddenly kiss you. Thornby had looked John up and down when he was introduced, finally unbending so far as to give John a slight inclination of the head. And John’s mouth had gone as dry as if Thornby had extended one of those elegant white hands and given his balls a gentle squeeze.


It was tiresome, really. It made it so much harder to concentrate. He must make sure he didn’t allow his attraction to the man to cloud his judgement. Possibly Thornby was using a glamour spell. John couldn’t sense one, but sometimes by their very nature they were difficult to detect.


So, he mustn’t think about how good it would be to slide his fingers inside Thornby’s old black pantaloons, how good it would be to taste his lovely mouth, and wipe that damned snooty expression off his face. If John had been in London, he would have gone to one of the houses that catered to men of his taste, and tried to forget about it. Here in the middle of rural Yorkshire it was far too dangerous to approach anyone, and in any case, farm lads were not his type. He’d simply leave as soon as he could tell Catterall he’d done his best.


They walked in single file for perhaps five minutes. The path smelt of rotting leaves, and a biting wind began to make its presence felt as they crossed into an open piece of moorland. Splashes of muddy water were spotting the back of Thornby’s coat. John used the close proximity to feel for magic. Like last night at dinner, he could sense nothing emanating from Thornby. There was certainly no demon reek, so Thornby probably wasn’t a theurgist, or if he was, he was a very fastidious one.


But then Thornby didn’t feel like a materials man either, and John could generally recognise his own kind. So, how had Thornby broken those charms? Now John was closer, and had longer to concentrate on Thornby alone, he thought there might be something magical, at the very edge of his awareness, but he couldn’t put his finger on it. Most magicians used demons or materials, but there were other ways, so perhaps Thornby used some unfamiliar method.


John charged his ward stone, and put it back in his pocket. He patted his bag of salt and checked his Gelomorous twine and the demon trap, just in case. Whatever spells Thornby cared to throw at him, he was ready. In fact, he was almost looking forward to a fight.


They reached an open place a hundred yards from a small pine spinney. The dark trees were contorted sideways as if fleeing the icy wind. The sun, behind its grey pall of cloud, was beginning to set. Thornby suddenly stopped and swung around.


“Well, Mr Blake? I suppose you’d like to explain yourself?” Thornby’s chin was up, beautiful mouth curved in disdain.

 
Author Bio
 

Lee Welch wrote her first book aged seven (a pastiche of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe) and first had an idea for an m/m romance aged twelve. She loves books and comics, and when she’s not writing, she’ll probably be reading. Her favourite authors include Ursula Le Guin, Graham Greene, Linda Medley, Dylan Horrocks and KJ Charles. By day, Lee works as an editor and business communications adviser, mainly persuading people not to say ‘utilise’ when they mean ‘use’. Her job has led her to work in areas as diverse as mental health, nursing, accident prevention and the criminal justice sector.


Lee loves to hear from readers. You can find her at:
www.leewelchwriter.com
Twitter: @leewelchwriter
Facebook: www.facebook.com/leewelchwriter

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Representation and Romance Stories. This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

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Representation and Romance Stories.

 

Last week I went to brunch with some of my MD/VA/DC group of LGBTQIA authors, publishers, bloggers, and readers.  It’s a lively group and after a while some of the discussion turned to how the Asch community was represented in the fiction released at the certain publisher.  The overall feeling was that the asexual community (given that is a broad spectrum itself) was well represented in our opinion (not so in an author’s not in attendance which is what sparked the conversation).

Wow, how things have changed in just a short time.  I can remember when that really wasn’t the case.

There was a time not that long ago where all the stories were strictly M/M or F/F, no  bi, no trans, no asch, no intersex, pansexual, or any of the quilt bag spectrum as my friend J. Scott Coatsworth calls it .

Now that has changed. Or at least I feel it has.  I’m reading more and more stories where happily the Quiltbag community is well represented.  More stories, outstanding and moving stories that feature main characters that fall anywhere along the LGBTQIA lineup…not just the L and the G.

What must that mean for the Quiltbag readers to see their reflections in fiction?  Finally?  I can only begin to imagine.

I know some are better represented that others. But overall I feel the move is for inclusion.  Diversity.  And not just in science fiction which is where I first saw and still see a huge amount of LGBTQIA stories that  have  beings of various sexualities, genders, and accepting societies (logical right?) Plus I do read a lot of stories.  So maybe I’m biased.

What do you all think?  How is the LGBTQIA community represented in fiction today?  In romance stories?  How has it progressed?  Is one sector more represented over others and why do you think that is?  Where do you see improvements?  Where the least?

Is there stories you have read that have made an impact on you?  What are they?

Tell me how you feel….I really want to know….

 

Now for this week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words….

 

This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

 

 

Sunday, August 5:

  • Release Blitz – The Selkie Prince’s Fated Mate by J.J. Masters
  • Representation and Romance Stories.
  • This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Monday, August 6:

  • BLITZ Death Days by Lia Cooper
  • Series Recap Blitz – Montana Series – RJ Scott
  • Blog Tour: Hard to Hold by Jaclyn Quinn
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: Risk Taker (Mixed Messages #3) by Lily Morton
  • A MelanieM Review: Savior (415 Ink #2) by Rhys Ford
  • A MelanieM Review: Hard to Hold (Haven’s Cove #3) by Jaclyn Quinn

Tuesday, August 7:

  • Blog Post – Brave For You – Crystal Lacy
  • DSP Promo BA Tortuga
  • DSP Promo Tara Lain
  • A MelanieM Release Day Review: The Missing Ingredient by Brian Lancaster
  • An Alisa Review Step Into Love (Taboo Love #2) by Lili Draguer
  • A MelanieM Release Day Review: Mammoth! (Repeating History #3) by Dakota Chase
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review :Truth & Betrayal by KC Wells

Wednesday, August 8:

  • BLITZ 2230: The Perfect Year by CM Corett
  • DSP Cover Reveal Chapman Brown
  • Release Blitz  – Goal Line – RJ Scott & V.L. Locey
  • DSP Promo K.A. Mitchell
  • A MelanieM Release Day Review: Rainbow Rodeo by BA Tortuga
  • A Jeri Review: A Dangerous Dance (Haven Hart Universe #3by Davidson King
  • A MelanieM Pre-release Review: Love at First Hate (Porthkennack #11) by J.L. Merrow  

Thursday, August 9:

  • DSP Promo Andrew Grey
  • Harmony Promo Dakota Chase on Mammouth and Repeating History
  • Release Blitz – Salt Magic, Skin Magic by Lee Welch
  • Taught by Tarilyn Sparks Release Day Blitz
  • A Free Dreamer Review:  Salt Magic, Skin Magic by Lee Welch
  • A Lila Review: Cold Like Snow by Sita Bethel
  • An Ali Review: Love It Like You Stole It by Ki Brightly

Friday, August 10:

  • DSP Cover Reveal Andrew Grey
  • DSP Dreamspun Promo Brian Lancaster on The MIssing Ingredient
  • In the Spotlight: The Long Way Around by Quinn Anderson
  • Salt Magic Skin Magic by Lee Welch Author Blog
  • A Caryn Release Day Review: Shoulder Season (World of Love) by Jackie North
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: Be Still My Heart (Four Kings Security Book 2) by Charlie Cochet
  • A Lucy Audiobook Review : Unscripted Love (Road to Blissville #1) by Aimee Nicole Walker and Joel Leslie (Narrator)

Saturday, August 11:

  • Release Blitz – KA Merikan’s Gray’s Shadow (Kings of Hell MC)
  • A MelanieM Review: Forged in Flood by Dahlia Donovan

 

Release Blitz – The Selkie Prince’s Fated Mate ( The Royal Alphas #1) by J.J. Masters (excerpt)

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RELEASE BLITZ

Book Title: The Selkie Prince’s Fated Mate: An MM Mpreg Shifter Romance

Series: The Royal Alphas, Book 1

Author: J.J. Masters

Publisher: Self-Published

Cover Artist: Megan Parker of EmCat Designs

Genre/s: Contemporary Romance, Paranormal, Gay, mpreg

Length: 56 427 words/236 pages

It’s a standalone story. The first in a series.

Add on Goodreads

Blurb

A Selkie prince forced to produce an heir. An omega destined to become a royal’s fated mate…

Prince Kai’s life as he knows it is now over. As the firstborn alpha to the Selkie King of the North, he’s required to produce an heir. Whether he wants to or not. When the Selkie Seekers finally present his fated mate, he dreads being tied to this stranger for the rest of his life. He can only hope his omega will be easy on the eyes and somewhat intelligent.

Raised in a family of good breeding, Luca always knew it was possible he’d end up the mate for an alpha of nobility. Only to whom, he never knew. Every time the Seekers summoned him for the humiliating presentation ceremony to royalty of all levels, he feared being stuck with some unbearable, abusive or very unattractive alpha. As an omega he doesn’t have the choice to say no. Not only is it his obligation, it’s the law. If he refuses, he and his family would become outcasts and banished from the Selkie community.

However, as soon as Kai enters the Great Hall of the North, it’s clear that the handsome prince is his alpha. Luca’s pleased with the choice the fates made until the king demands that not only he become pregnant within six months but produce an alpha pup with his son, otherwise he’ll be cast aside. And getting pregnant might be a problem…

Note: A 56k word m/m shifter mpreg story, this is the first book in the Royal Alpha series. Due to the “knotty” times in this book, it is recommended for mature readers only. It can be read as a standalone and, of course, has an HEA.

Excerpt

Luca wandered around the large suite feeling a little overwhelmed. He had been brought here by a beta servant right after finishing dinner. Not that he had eaten much since his stomach had been tied in knots.

How could it not be? He had sat for two long hours next to his new alpha. Imagine that! His fated mate turned out to be an actual prince and next in line for the throne as the King of the North.

That meant whatever heirs he produced with this prince could eventually succeed the throne. Whatever pups he bore would be princes in their own right.

But that wasn’t what made him slick with excitement. No, that wasn’t it at all. It was the alpha himself.

Being raised in a family of good breeding, Luca always knew that it could be possible he’d end up being the fated mate for an alpha of nobility. Who and where he never knew. As soon as he had become “of age,” the Selkie Seekers had summoned him time and time again to present him to royalty of all levels. From a king all the way to the lowest level of Selkie nobility, a baronet.

He couldn’t say he enjoyed any of the presentations. They were somewhat humiliating. However, over the last ten years, he’d gotten used to them. Well, as much as he could get used to being nude in a head down, ass up position in front of a crowd. Sometimes for up to an hour at a time.

Each time he was summoned he had hoped he wouldn’t get stuck with some unbearable, abusive or very unattractive alpha. Because if he did, he knew he had to do his duty no matter what and rut with whomever it was. As an omega, he didn’t have a choice to turn away the mate fates handed him.

It was his obligation and, more importantly, it was the law. If he refused, he and his family would be banished from any and all Selkie communities. They would become outcasts.

However, as soon as Prince Kai had entered the Great Hall of the North, he knew that the male was his alpha. Luca’s slick glands had started to leak just slightly, and his hole had loosened in preparation for mating. At that point, it took all that Luca had to remain in place, to stay in his submissive position as the alpha strode around them, inspecting the offering of omegas.

Of course, Luca had snuck in some peeks here and there and was pleased to find that his alpha was in his prime. Tall, broad-chested, dark-haired, and… simply handsome. When the regal prince had brought Luca to his feet, he’d lost his breath as he stared into those Caribbean blue eyes. The ones that bore straight into his soul.

Luca had been overcome with relief that his alpha was not only easy on the eyes but not much older than him. And from what he could tell over dinner, even though conversation was a bit difficult with the table being so long and the royal family being so spread out, his alpha seemed to be intelligent.

Buy Links – Available in Kindle Unlimited

Amazon US  

Amazon UK

About the Author  

J.J. Masters is the alter-ego of a USA Today bestselling author who writes hot, gay romance filled with heart, humor and heat. J.J. became fascinated with mpreg romance as soon as she figured out what mpreg stood for. She loves to write about “knotty” men!

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A MelanieM Review: The Gallery: The Special Exhibits (The Gallery #2) by Megan Derr

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Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5

 

Welcome to the Gallery, where you can admire hundreds of beautiful paintings, and perhaps find what you didn’t know you were looking for…

In these rooms you will find the Special Exhibits, those paintings which remain at the Gallery only temporarily. Their time here can range from weeks to decades—even centuries. But they do eventually leave, so admire while you can. The subjects of these paintings come from all walks of life, from lonely individuals seeking respite while they await their true love, all the way to dangerous beings captured by the Curator or given to him for safekeeping until such time as they can be trusted out in the world again.

Today’s featured Special Exhibits include: The Assassin, about a killer on the run and a painting of a man who once chose surrender over murder; The Lion and the Mouse, where a grouchy accountant escapes the snow only to find himself on a beach with an ancient gladiator; The Gargoyle is a beautiful, erotic statue not for the faint of heart; Shapeless brings a new and rather unique guest to the gallery when he is bequeathed to Silenus by a dead alchemist; and finally, in Fallen Soldier, a man escaping his kidnappers hides behind a statue of an unusual being who once betrayed a dying kingdom…

I absolutely loved the first book in this series,The Gallery: The Permanent Collection.  Derr gave us a wonderful concept, than an complicated buildup introduction to the owner of the Gallery, the Lord of Satyrs, and a terrific foundation of world building. Just magical.  So I was really looking forward to the sequel.  We had a brief peek at this “area” of the  Gallery and small explanation but no more.

Now the The Special Exhibits are on displayAnd depending upon the “art work” the very nature of this portion of The Gallery made it less….magical or something.  You see all the inhabitants here are only temporary.  The amount of time they have spent living inside their “art” can be a thousand years to decades.  It depends upon the person they are waiting to find them.   And what happens after that.   Which is that they leave the paintings/sculptures etc. (actually small bubble universes) to join that one they’ve been waiting all this time for.

Now in the Permanent Gallery, that person joins their fated one within the art work.  Makes sense because again.  That art work is really a contained universe.

But here the inhabitants, such as the Lion, a Gladiator who had never lost a battle, steps out of his painting into our century to become a…bouncer at a leather club with his sex club accountant boyfriend leading him?  For me that was just nonsensical.  Talk about culture shock.  A fracas at the door of a local club  is put down by a man using a net and trident? That would bring in the media.Yes, yes, I know that wouldn’t happen but that is the picture that sprung to mind.  How do all these beings face life and relationships in our world and with our technology?  Hard to answer in 66 pages to my satisfaction. As each long-term being left it’s temporary holding place in The Gallery, I just couldn’t help but think…what happens next to them?  What about the culture adjustment?  Where do the couples go? None of these questions really arise in The Permanent Collection for obvious reasons.  That book just had more depth to it imo.

The only ones I wasn’t worried about particularly, was the  Mist.  Very imaginative.  And playful. Plus the Merperson/Octopii being and the human mate. Yes, there is tentacle sex. Just a fyi.  Their ending seemed rather wonderful although I  still wanted to know  what happened next to them as well.  Especially as they were the end story to  The Special Exhibits, with the notation that another would soon replace them.  Yes, this gallery is one constant turnover.

Plus there is only a brief mention of the demon problems here that were such a major element in the first story.  All in all, this is a lighter short story collection without the depth of the first.  I would have loved to have known more about what happens next for many of the couples, a question that arises out of the nature of their temporary status in the The Gallery.

We have two books.  I wonder where Megan Derr is going next.  Will we find out more about the demons and the humans who have brought this problem into the world?  What will happen to the Gallery and it’s owner next?

I can hardly wait.

Love this series. So will you.

Cover art by Aisha Akeju is beautiful, compelling and perfect for the story and cover.

Sales Links:  Less Than Three Press | Amazon

Book Details:

Author’s Note: Two of these stories were freebies on my website. They have been edited for re-release, and received minor changes, but nothing major.

ebook, 66 pages
Published July 18th 2018 by Less Than Three Press
ISBN139781684312986
Edition LanguageEnglish
Series The Gallery #2